• The Kill

    “Kill” can also mean “river,” although the common definition is more apt in the case of Arthur Kill. Dumping toxins into its waters began during the industrial revolution. Runoff from the landfill on its banks poisoned wildlife for decades. But in the past 40 years, environmental legislation and cleanup efforts have made great strides toward rehabilitation.

    The Kill’s ugly past endures in these moored ships: usefulness spent, rusted and rotting, their purpose exhausted. But among the distress of the listing shipwrecks, there is beauty as nature reclaims the waste. Oxidation disintegrates steel. Fungus dissolves wood. The past is forgotten.

    An overcast day provided a backdrop that was at once bleak and bright. Blue crabs scuttled along, whereas a few decades ago they would have died within hours of being in the water. Even the adjacent landfill is being transformed into a park. Nature, given reprieve, can forgive.