The other day I went for a walk in another of our little town’s hidden refuges, mcnear island. It’s actually more of a penninsula, and is the site of a new little park (and a forty foot section of the bay ridge trail) The reason it’s somewhat of a mystery spot is because if you are on the river’s west bank down around h street, and look across, you might assume you are looking at the other side of the river, but actually you are looking at mcnear island. If you are on the east bank of the river, you might look across and think you are looking at the west side and in this case also, you are not. You can find the neck of the penninsula just southeast of the d street drawbridge. The other day, the grasses were vibrantly shining with premature summer sun as I walked into its reverie.
Heading out onto the path, the town recedes behind me and expands out in a far-away circle as a strange quiet, sparkling world opens up. Old damp gray grass bows under new green grass growing through it. Passing the old livery building with its vintage blue ghirardelli chocolate advertisement still vibrant on the side, I remember when the developers moved the old edifice here from its former home on d street in the middle of the night—since they were building a huge new parking garage where the livery had been standing for decades. Eve, Susan and Lisa arrived in white nightgowns and nightcaps for the 3am event. It’s like a building put out to pasture, I think, and pass by its old gray boards to the open rising meadow. Water flows by on both sides.
A wild place downtown, in a sense that you would ever expect. The community heart vibrates when you stand quietly on this piece of land at the top of the rise. Nothing has been “done” with it yet, so it is still beautiful.
I heard it might become an urban farm, created by permaculturists, who understand wildness and landscape. This would expand and transform its magic and give rise to a different kind of interaction: agriculture. But permaculture is not traditional agriculture; it’s more along the path of indigenous people, who managed the forests and formed a partnership with the elements rather than imposing a dominating force. It could be one act of wisdom, acting from a center.