Saturday, July 7, 2012


July 4, 2012 - Independence Day
Saratoga Battlefield National Park

Peace has its battle-fields;
bloodless, but brave
to a degree of heroic endurance of wrong and outrage
to which martial courage could never attain.

Elihu Burritt, Passive Resistance. 1854

Having this one day off from work, how best to spend it?
Mom and I have not walked together for a while, and she expressed a desire to walk at Saratoga Battlefield National Park.  It’s not too far a drive, and has wide-open spaces that are a nice contrast to my recent woods-walks.
So off we went, to stretch our legs before any storm-clouds appeared in the afternoon.

Mom and I walked the trail through fields bursting with flowers and grasses. She’s a fast mover, and even as she stood to wait for me, the camera failed to catch her.

I used to be a historical re-enactor, and attended a Revolutionary war
re-enactment here, years ago. The parts I enjoyed about re-enacting were the aspects of camp life and Native culture. (Native Americans were involved on both sides of the Revolutionary conflict.) I liked learning about these things, and sharing that knowledge with the many visitors who attended these events.
The pretend-fighting of the events was not my cup of tea.
The real fighting that took place here in 1777 is remembered as "The Turning Point of the American Revolution."
Many soldiers lost their lives here.

There are signs here and there along the trails, explaining the battles,
the positions of troops on this ridge or that.
I pause to read one, and the graceful movement of a butterfly catches my eye.

You come upon monuments, some of them puzzling.

In celebration of Independence Day, the Park held a ceremony for several dozen people taking their oaths of Citizenship today.
Who knows what battle-fields they left behind?

We did not attend the ceremony, but headed out onto a grassy trail.
From a distant field, I heard fife and drum music (being played by some of my old friends, as it turns out), and to top off the ceremony,
other re-enactors set off a field cannon with a loud BOOM.

There would be lots more of those booms throughout the day, and into the evening. As if there aren’t enough things exploding in the world already.

For now, we enjoyed the calming sound of crickets zzzing in the tall grasses.
The smell of black-powder has been replaced with the scent of mountain-mint.

Blood-red berries were ripening in the sun.

The May-Apples were making mock apples, beneath the shade of wild apple trees that long-ago were part of Freeman’s Farm.

Only a few of the butterflies that fluttered about would sit still long enough for a photo.

Walking ahead of me on the trail, Mom flushed a deer. The deer took off like a shot, from some shady lilacs next to a cannon replica.
At another cannon display, instead of seeing horse dragoons with drawn swords, we met up with some horseback riders just enjoying a peaceful day.

At a high point of land, where generals once discussed battle strategy on that distant day, there were bicyclists plotting out the route of their ride.

The only camo we saw was worn by weary wood-nymphs

And instead of a fly-over of military jets, we were buzzed by a hummingbird moth, intent of the nectar of a newly-blossomed flower.


  1. We walked the same parts of Saratoga that you did on a side trip from the Performing Arts Center on a trip home to NY several years ago. Fascinating.
    The boot monument is for then Gen. Benedict Arnold's role at the battle. He was instrumental in the American victory, but once he became an attainted traitor, you couldn't erect a monument to him. He was shot in the leg during the battle, it was a way to recognize the crucial role he played, his wounded leg is memorialized, but not his traitorous self. He truly was a hero at Saratoga, and some felt it should be acknowledged somehow, despite what happened later.

  2. thanks for clearing that up Caroline, what puzzled me is that someone else's name was on the back of this particular monument. But you are correct, there is a side of B. Arnold that most folks do not know about.

  3. Thank You for the identification of the hummingbird moth. I think I saw one in our garden recently. Looks like the one in your picture. Now I know what it is.

  4. thanks for visiting, Bernie, there are actually two types of these amazing critters in our area, the Hummingbird Moth, and another called the Snowberry Clearwing. Haha, sounds like a character from The Hobbit.