Took a hike on Patriot's Path with my wife, Patricia, and our son, Matt, on Mother's Day. Patricia and I used to hike like this often, and sometimes more than the four miles or so we completed somewhere in Mendham Township, in wilds that felt every bit as authentic as Sussex, mounting sustained inclines here in Morris, too.
We neared the top of a 300-foot or so climb when inspiration struck--it never fails to strike me on an outing--and I lit into expressions of appreciation for this place when this spice bush swallowtail--I think that's what it is--landed directly to my right. Immediately I began photographing, wild with awe.
This never fails to happen to me. But it doesn't happen to anyone else I know. Walt Whitman may have been even better--he's photographed, I think, with a butterfly, a yellow swallowtail, that landed on his arm. Saint Francis opened his arms; birds landed in his embrace. Inspiration. Hart Crane called it connectivity. Most of us call it love. You open your heart and nature fills it.
Or the heart bursts free of your own will. Either way, heart opens, nature responds. Fishing works this way too.
And so does the search for wild creatures. Matt encountered two garter snakes. I had said the day before that chances indicated we'd find one.
And, wow, the Whippany River has trout lies galore! All these years driving by I never realized what an excellent stream. It is stocked. Upstream of where the Pequest trucks net out the shares, native brookies occupy a presence at the least, and Matt said he saw several brookies about five inches long while exploring the river. He also said he saw dace. He knows the difference.