The river that runs along the length of Riverdale Farm plays a big part in our lives. A quick plunge into the water in the middle of a sweltering day. An end-of-afternoon visit with crackers and cheese and some liquid refreshment. A cast line to make an attempt on that monster trout that just has to be cruising the bank.
The farm sits on the West Bank of the Delaware River, a fork through the Catskill Mountains that joins with it's sister fork, predictably called the East Branch, at Hancock, NY. Under normal weather conditions, the "Binnekill" runs parallel to the river, but since we're suffering for rain at the moment, it's dry except for pockets of water here and there. Those pockets make great spots for little fishermen to drop the minnow trap. Our little fishermen check their minnow trap alot.
Lilacs. They're beautiful, and their light, fresh scent serves as a signal that spring is on the way. Technically, I suppose I should say summer is on the way, but in this Catskill Mountain valley, seasons are a little behind. Lilacs spread by sending shoots up from their roots, and these shoots are fairly easy to dig up and transplant to wherever a new bush is desired. We've got a new little shoot coming up in the middle of our flower garden (where it's not actually desired) and that baby will be relocating in the fall!
Due to this propensity to root-sprout, and the ease of which they can be transplanted, lilacs are the perfect flowering bush to share with your friends. "Historical" case in point: the number of great, big lilac bushes you see along rural roads. Lilacs abundantly shared between neighbors, and still thriving long after the man-made home and barn structures have disappeared.
The next time you see a couple of large lilac bushes in what appears to be an empty field, take a moment. Peer through the overgrown grasses. Maybe you'll see the stone ruins of an old foundation, the wooden skeleton that was once a home. Roadside lilacs invite us to take a glimpse into the forgotten past.