When I moved to Goshen 15 years ago, I was immediately drawn to its Millrace—arguably one of the town’s most unique geographical features. As the mother of an infant then, I spent a lot of time pushing a stroller.
On Main Street my son could point to any number of impressive-looking trucks and trailers, but along the Millrace he became acquainted with shade trees, wild flowers, black raspberries, red-wing blackbirds, ducks, turtles and even the occasional blue heron. My parents, who had moved to Goshen to retire, lived along the Millrace and passed hours enjoying it from the armchairs on their sun porch.
The years have passed swiftly, but the Millrace has remained a constant in our lives as my infant became a teenager, my teenagers grew into adults and my parents have passed on. All along, I’ve observed the cycle of the seasons unfold each year, taking comfort in the return of bee balm in July, asters and goldenrod in August.
Some Sunday afternoons I’ve encountered rows of pastel-clad Amish women walking hand in hand. In the early evening I frequently see fishermen of all ages gathered on the bridge between the Dam Pond and the Race. I’m profoundly grateful to the city of Goshen for maintaining a common space in which we can contemplate the day and the season, walk alone or with friends, watch birds and exercise.
I’ve long been an admirer of nature writing that grows out of a specific place–such as Aldo Leopold’s “A Sand County Almanac,” Wendell Berry’s poems and essays written from his farm in Kentucky, and Hal Borland’s and Verlyn Klinkenborg’s columns for The New York Times. I don’t have a farm, but I do have the Millrace, as does everyone else in Goshen.
It occurred to me, then, one warm July evening as I rode my bike past the purple bee balm, that I could write about this small stretch between wetlands and water—exploring the people and creatures that inhabit it, those who care for it, and the flora and fauna that thrive there—and by so doing, learn and share more about local culture, diversity and collaboration.
I’ll be posting one to four times per month, depending on inspiration and work schedule, a variety of reflections on 1) what’s blooming or who’s nesting or thriving on the Race; 2) the history of the Race; 3) people who frequent the Race or contribute to its beauty; and 4) challenges to the preservation and maintenance of the Race.
I plan to illustrate the blog with my own photography. Life is not a race, though we often make it into one. I encourage you to meander along the Millrace, unless you’re training for a marathon, that is, and share your own responses to this special place.