Halloween in the Methodist Burial Ground in Red Hook
Thursday, October 31 2019
Normally I take Ramona the Dog to work on Wednesdays, but I hadn't been able to do that yesterday. So I thought I'd make it up to her today, even though it would mean Neville the Dog would have to spend the day at home with Gretchen. Though I tried to be discreet about telling Ramona she could come with me (at this point she responds to very subtle silent gestures in even a gloomy room), when Ramona got up, so did Neville, though it was enough just to tell him at the door that he would have to stay. He didn't want to go out into the rain anyway.
The rain didn't end up being all that bad today, and though I didn't take Ramona on our usual walk back in the fields and forest east of the office, I was able to give her three reasonably-good walks. The big one of the day came at around noon, after I'd put some checks into our account at the Red Hook branch of the Mid-Hudson Valley Credit Union. My initial plan wasn't necessarily to walk Ramona in a new place, but for some reason I drove to the CVS just north of the center of the village, and just behind its parking lot was a low forested ridge. Better still, there was also a little cemetery nearby. Maybe it was unknown to FindAGrave.com, one of my new favorite websites, and I could contribute tombstone photographs. First, though, I had to climb to the top of that forested ridge in order to get around a fence. At the summit, the underlying bedrock jutted out of the ground at a steep tilt. It looked like a somewhat coarser-grain version of the Devonian bluestone familiar from the Catskills, but this far east it must've been older (supposedly it is Middle-Ordovician). Just beyond the summit was a basin in the ridge where it looked like loose pieces of stone had been mined for its many uses. And in that basin (
41.997858N, 73.871763W was the remains of a tent that looked to have been abandoned. I didn't investigate further, but it looked like this camping site had been specifically selected its proximity to the services of Red Hook and its invisibility. If I hadn't hiked up this ridge (an act that is probably rare even among the employees of the several businesses less than 300 feet away), I would've never known it was there.
As for the cemetery, it contained maybe a hundred stones in a narrow plot reaching all the way to Cherry Street. Though the stones all dated to the 19th Century and early 20th Century, the grounds had been recently mowed and it even looked like the leaves had been raked up. But it's impossible to contend with all the devilish tricks the Good Lord has at His disposal. A large rotten tree and been blown down, toppling several of the gravestones and flattening some iron rails that had been installed around some of the plots. Back at the office, I would find this cemetery, the Red Hook Methodist Burial Ground, was well-known to FindAGrave.com, and nearly all its headstoned had already been photographed.
In the tree that had fallen in the cemetery, I'd found some lovely (and seasonal!) orange mushrooms that I quickly identified as Phyllotopsis nidulans. They were delightfully tender, but I didn't find anything online about them being edible (or, better still, hallucinogenic).
On the drive home from work today, I stopped at the Red Hook Hannaford to get some veggies that Gretchen had said we were in need of. While there, I impulse-bought some white "Italian" bakery bread and hard cider (the latter in hopes that I could get Gretchen to drink something with me at some point). Gretchen ridiculed by bakery bread when she saw it, but, combined with peanut butter, it was exactly what I wanted to be eating.
Meanwhile, outdoors, temperatures were like those of summer, making the inside of our house feel like a refrigerator in comparison. When I opened a window, I described the blast of warm humid air as resembling "dog breath." It was raining, but not very much, so I made a brief visit to the stone wall in the forest. I love to walk around in the woods when it's been raining.
While we were watching Stephen Colbert, the power suddenly died, plunging the teevee room into a darkness so deep that things looked the same whether our eyes were opened or closed. I cobbled together some lighting solutions so Gretchen could grade papers while I tried to amuse myself with my phone. But its connection quality was poor. At some point I started drinking Irish whiskey. We were surprised when the power came back on at around 9:00pm. We'd thought Central Hudson would be too busy from widespread outages to deal with Dug Hill Road.
The hobo camp I found behind the CVS in Red Hook. Click to enlarge.
A fallen tree in the Methodist Burial Ground in Red Hook.
Click to enlarge.
Ramona in the Methodist Burial Ground in Red Hook.
Click to enlarge.
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