I had another Saturday jam-packed with errands, laundry, cleaning and grocery shopping vaguely planned in my weekend-fogged brain when I got a call from my friend Paul wanting to get out into the gorgeous day. What a great idea! We agreed on Roosevelt Island, which is about a 15 minute walk from my home, and which I am normally kayaking around.
It is an 88 acre island in the Potomac between Key and Roosevelt bridges. In the 1930’s the Civilian Conservation Corps turned it into a memorial to Theodore Roosevelt, our 26th president and a complex and varied character, known for his foreign policy, corporate reform, and conservation of wild lands. People who only know about his foreign policy should dip into his writing on wilderness preservation and trust busting, which are radical in today’s terms.
The island has miles of walking paths through upland forest and marsh. Paul and I circumnavigated it, fellow gardeners noticing native and non-native plants, as well as bird life. This is a varied hardwood forest, with different kinds of oak, tulip poplar, walnut, hickory, and probably some ash. On our way to the marsh, we saw this fallen tree.
I offered to give it some scale. Huge.
Because the waters of the marsh are tidal and rise and fall with the level of the river, there are raised walks.
This place is also duck heaven.
We noticed a lot of cat tails and other marsh plants.
Even in dappled woodland light, you’re never far from the city, which is what makes this such a lovely quick respite and a miracle of preservation.
On our way to the central part of the island where the memorial is, I spotted this wild ginger. It looked like a nice little colony.
The memorial has a statue of TR, and in the warm months, has working fountains and a man made moat, over which small bridges lead out to the rest of the paths.
It also has quotes from Roosevelt’s speeches and writings. Not among them is “I can run the country or I can watch Alice. I can’t do both.”
On the bridge off the island, while I was gaping around at the water, Paul said, “That guy’s proposing.” We and a dozen other people stopped to give them space. I didn’t capture the down-on-one-knee actual proposal, but here is the aftermath. Best wishes, you two!
I hope they have many happy returns to enjoy each other and the beautiful views.