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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Mallard and the Heroin Addict

Terry Sohl Source
Female mallard, next to plastic cup 
Female mallard, next to plastic cup 
I was recently walking along a street in Paterson and the man sitting on the street next to me dropped his pants and began to inject himself in the thigh. I'm guessing that his syringe contained heroin. Paterson is the go-to place for heroin, according to recent news accounts, one of which you can read here.

The whole damn thing pisses me off.

I wish heroin were legal. I wish the state taxed it to high heaven. I wish heroin addicts funded public parks and education rather than evil, slimy drug cartels.

I wish someone would articulate clearly what separates addicts from non-addicts.

I should be an addict. There was addiction in my natal family. I was an abused kid. I've had two serious health problems in the past two years, a badly broken arm that hurt for six solid months and cancer, and in both cases I took narcotics for a prescribed period and then I stopped taking them and I don't miss them.

One of the weirder aspects of Paterson is that it is an urban environment with all the headaches of urban environments including constant noise pollution and the occasional heroin addict dropping his pants right next to you.

The Passaic River flows through Paterson and it is heavily polluted. Even so, the wildlife on this river astounds me. Just the other day I saw a great egret feeding in the Passaic. I've also seen great blue herons, black-crowned night herons, bufflehead, mergansers, cormorants, wood ducks, catfish, turtles, raccoons … all in that dank soup of urban pollution and mankind's sins against nature.

Garret Mountain is in Paterson and West Paterson, a town that recently changed its name to Woodland Park, in order to escape the stigma of being associated with Paterson. I blogged about my first, awestruck visit to Garret Mountain here.

So the other day I was passing the spot where the heroin addict dropped his pants and I saw a female mallard in just that spot.

She was still there yesterday when I snapped the photos you see, above. 

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