Living in the suburbs of a major city has a lot of advantages. There are almost too many things that you can do. Museums in the city offer new opportunities for discovery. There are restaurants to go to, with a sampling of cuisine from all corners of the earth. Traveling bands of musicians fill indoor and outdoor venues with music. The local sports teams give the city an identity. A wide variety of neighborhoods to explore and live in. Places stay open late into the night. The health care system is fairly robust.
The urban landscape, with its wide and narrow streets, with the movement of people going about their daily lives, the buildings tall and short, old and new. Sounds and smell that give each city its individual flavor. Photographic subjects galore. Cityscapes, abstractions, street photography – images created by the boundless imaginations of denizens and visitors alike.
And here in the Washington D.C. area, a scant few miles from Washington itself, on the road that leads to Washington’s Mount Vernon, lies a small wildlife preserve that gives pause to the routine of suburban living. Parking near the marina, a short walk on the sidewalk leads to a dirt trail marked with a solitary sign. Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve.
The trail runs close to the banks of the Potomac River. The trail is an incomplete semi circle that leads to a boardwalk and then it ends with a view of a small island, separated from the abutment of land by a channel in the river. In the early morning, walking the trail towards this island, you pass by several glades where the sandy shores meet the waters of the great river. Can the city be only a few miles away?
Blue sky, clear water, trees and river grasses. An oasis that seems so far away until you hear the airplanes overhead, getting ready to land in nearby Reagan National Airport. A turn to another direction and you almost run into a swamp.
You can see a solitary heron in the water nearby. Further down the river, you see a tree laden with egrets. The percussive sound of woodpeckers hammering away in the woods, the eagles and ospreys soaring overhead in search of prey, the terns and gulls in majestic glides. Ah, Wilderness!