Historic Places in South Jersey

Historic Places in South Jersey - Places to Go and Things to Do

A discussion of things to do and paces to go, with the purpose of sharing, and encouraging exploration of South Jersey.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sunset at Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ


This summer, I have been going regularly to Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ to see the sunset.  There are many sunset fans who show up there for this celestial extravaganza.  Because it is over the Delaware River, and relatively unobstructed being south of the city, below the navy yard, it is  a spectacle of color. 

So, when I saw an article about this artist, I was intrigued.  For many of my trips to Red Bank, I have declined to take a photograph, though I am a lifelong photographic chronicler of my world.  I just felt there are so many sunset photographs and none of them can capture that enormous radiance, why bother.  Then one day, I found a shot I wanted to take, when the sun was behind a tree and the orb itself blocked so only the radiance emanated from behind the now silhouetted tree branches.  It looked like the biblical burning bush.  Unfortunately, my phone went dead just then, and all I could do was sit on the bench in the breeze that was like the memory of beautiful summers past, and watch the sun create the gold plated path across the river.  This has been a glorious summer like the ones people always remember but in a grieving way as “lost forever” now that it is so hot.  This summer all the days in the lower 80’s have been breezy and dry, not humid.  And I know this because I walk every day after the gym and sometimes in the early evening at Red Bank. 

The historic house at Red Bank belonged to the Whitall family, a well-off Quaker family unwillingly embroiled in the Revolution when their apple orchard was confiscated for Fort Mercer, used to protect the Delaware from British ships.  

Often when I am there, I wonder if Ann Whitall ever noticed and admired the sunset, but she was so bound up in a puritanical religious view she might have found the appreciation of natural beauty to be too pagan.  Her diary reflects no such thoughts for the year of 1762, and this I know because I typed from the old typewriter copy, onto the computer so it would be available to researchers.  Then, I checked as much as I could to see that the typewritten copy was true to the handwritten copy which was Xerox copied and bound and is available for reference at Gloucester County Historical Society in Woodbury.

But to get back to sunsets.  An artist, Penelope Umbrico, cropped sunrise and sunset closeups from the multitude of vacation photos on Flickr, on the internet and created the mural pictured above which tomy  mind shows that there are still things to discover in photography, and it also comes closer to capturing the magnificence of the sun as well as our worship of it and admiration of it through all human time. 

I will try to get that photograph tonight, Thursday, June 30,  and post it tomorrow or the day after, Saturday.

See you at the sunset!  Happy Trails, Jo Ann

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