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Remember: Lock Ridge Park (Part 2)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lock Ridge Park (Part 2)

A young forest, reclaiming land once stripped bare by industry sprawls beyond the ancient furnace. The Swabia Creek, a tributary of the Little Lehigh, twists around inside the park. On this afternoon, the slower sections of the Swabia were frozen. Even in the faster runs, crystalline icebergs were present.

Abby and Eric told me that there were further structures hidden in the woods ahead.Before reaching any structures, we came across a bridge. There were stairs aside of it that led to a very small dam in the Swabia. Abby told me to be careful as I walked down the steps and eventually made my way onto the frozen water. Abby yelled at me. I knew the ice I stood on was safe, it was dammed by a log and shielded from sunlight.

I then decided to continue risking breaking the ice. I crossed the log to the other side of the creek. The water here, still frozen, was atop running water. This was not safe ice. I wanted to snap a quick picture of the underside of the bridge, so I figured a second on the ice would not compromise its structural integrity.

My weight placed down and instantly through the ice with a loud crack, my foot rested on the bottom of Swabia Creek. Abby said she told me so.

Tail between my legs, up the hill, and further down the trail, into the forest.

At various points throughout the forest, ruins were visible. A large outcropping of rock jutted out, high over the low valley the Swabia ran through.

The squish of icy water in my boot bothering me more with every step, I hurried Abby and Eric towards the last destination they wanted me to see before leaving. We made it across the snowy ground to more exposed rocks and concrete.

Sitting in my car with my wet sock and boot removed, the heater blasting on my red left toes, I thought of Lock Ridge Park and how I would write about it. More striking to me, as I sat there slowly melting, was the opportunity that Lock Ridge offers its visitors to view history. Yes, the obvious history of iron and coal but perhaps, more importantly, the new history of ecological succession.

This area has been reclaimed by nature. I know not how it appeared years ago in clouds of steam and soot. Today I see a developing ecosystem, beginning to thrive while still being affected by the long dead Iron Furnace. I will return in the warmer months to see what plants have developed, to see what this wet behind the ears ecosystem is offering.

The lasting image I take from Lock Ridge Park is the sight of red bricks, under the clear water and ice, scattered as if haphazardly thrown once their purpose had been exhausted.

Here, is where I fell through the ice:



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