On The Banks of Ol’ Muddy

I’ve never lived on a river before. Having grown up in Los Angeles this should come as no surprise, the LA River is a cement storm drain.

zuma I spent my misbegotten youth hanging out at the beach. I got to know it pretty well; hot sand, then wet sand, then water, then waves – pretty straightforward.




001 When I met Amy she was living on a lake. Druce Lake. A well behaved body of water in Lake County, Illinois (who’da thunk). The lake was similar to the ocean – sand then water. A little more in the way of seaweed (would that be lakeweed?) not quite as clear, a few tiny little aquatic residents.




IMG_9096 In New Jersey we had a farm pond. Which was more like a large petri dish. Only a couple of feet deep it was choked with grasses, frogs, turtles, mosquitoes, duckweed and algae plus an occasional visiting heron.






DSC_0330 We now find our tent pitched on the shores of the North River. The North River is what they call a tidal river which means it goes both ways. It’s been doing this for thousands of years, way before Massachusetts legalized gay marriage. Unlike a normal river, this river is affected by the tides. It flows two different directions and rises and falls about 5 feet twice a day, sorta like the moods of a teenage girl. It also widens about 30 feet at high tide and leaves muddy banks when the tide is down.


For those of you unaware of MBS (Muddy Bank Syndrome) let me try to explain it. Imagine a bucket full of steer manure. (For those of you with more sensitive constitutions try not to imagine the smell) Now add just enough water to make a cake batter-like consistency. Now put your foot in it, that’s MBS.

This brings us to the subject of today’s adventure  – raking leaves. Sully, the guy who cuts the lawn, told me about 3 weeks ago, “That’s it for this season…I’ll be back next year”. Being a lawn cutting specialist I assumed he was attuned to the growth patterns of grass in New England and had years of experience behind him.

IMG_3960Turns out he just doesn’t like dealing with leaves. A week after his escape to the Bahamas (or wherever lawn specialists go for the winter) the beautiful fall colors dropped on us like a ton of dry mulch. This necessitated two days of raking, leaf blowing and bagging the rainbow of fall colors into huge brown paper bags…17 huge brown paper bags – and that was just the front yard.

Due to the herbicidal holocaust (see “Vines on the Pines” episode) that I visited upon the backyard we actually have access to the river now. There is a small path down to a dock where the squirrels play. This was discovered by Bingo the dog as I was toiling in the front yard. Much to his surprise, squirrels can run right across the mud muck. He, on the other hand, sunk in up to his little doggie elbows. He would have sunk further except for his pot belly. He returned to the front yard blissfully unaware of his two-toned mudbath color scheme.

Actually, being a dog he was aware but completely unconcerned – dogs are like that. I’m sure in his little doggie mind the simple solution to the issue was to come inside and roll on the upstairs carpeting until the mud was evenly distributed on the carpet and him.

I, being of superior human intellect, decided I should stop my leaf collecting labors and spend an hour playing doggie hairdresser. Of course the wet t-shirt, mud wrestling match in the bathroom wracked my back way more than the autumnal removal activity.

I called the pharmacy about what I should do about a sore back. They suggested a mud pack…seriously.

There are no photos of Bingo before and after because I smeared river mud on the lens of my camera.


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