The Quietness of a Fall Afternoon

The Seneca Falls Canal Harbor looks deserted this afternoon. The sun feels warm on my face but there is a cool wind blowing from the west with thickening clouds in the sky. It’s a peaceful sight as there were no boats on the Cayuga-Seneca Canal; only four canal boats tied up along the Canal Harbor waiting for anyone who might like to take a ride on the canal.

The lone user of the canal this afternoon was a lady kayaker. She quickly passed under the water street bridge and then completely out of sight on Van Cleef Lake. Her paddles created just a few ripples in the water which quickly disappeared – much like a water skipper which walks on the water, depending upon the surface tension of the water to keep it afloat.

The old Trinity Episcopal Church at Seneca Falls sports a new copper roof. There has been construction work going on at the church all summer long. A new pavilion has been constructed near the church where one can enjoy the view along Van Cleef Lake and beyond to the locks.

I try to imagine all of the manufacturing activity that went on in this village so many years ago – lumber mills, grain mills, woolen mills, a pump foundry, and canal boats hauling the finished products to their markets. I sure would like to see a revival of manufacturing in Finger Lakes and indeed in all of Upstate NY.

Just up the street stands the First Presbyterian Church which was built in 1873. There is a sign that marks the spot where the first Equal Rights Amendment was proposed in 1923 by Alice Paul in this church. Perhaps the legacy of Seneca Falls is not the cradle of manufacturing in the Finger Lakes but the early recognition of how we should treat each other socially.

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