You Will Be Mist

You Will Be Mist

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View from Fort Nathan Hale Park in New Haven, CT. Photographed by Dan Mims. Signed and numbered (as applicable) by the artist.

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Around the cannon deck at Fort Nathan Hale Park, logs of wood stand close together like a group of friends posing for a picture.

Near this oceanside spot, the deck’s commemorative cannon says, is where colonial brothers-in-arms once offered “determined resistance” to invading redcoats. A wooden sign off to the side, painted dark brown and sandy yellow, suggests a mostly moral victory. 19 patriots, it says, fought invaders from both land and sea, then “spiked their guns and withdrew” after running out of ammo.

These days, there’s no rush to leave, and since this is a park that grows on you, that’s for the better. It’s got problems, like a dock in disrepair, an overgrown bocce court and a general lack of being fussed over. But it’s also got wild flowers, pink and white, and wild fowl, from egrets to blackbirds. It’s got an arched pavilion and old military bunkers. It’s got two marshy ponds and a rustic drawbridge over one of them. It’s got a decent view of downtown and a great view of the horizon.

It’s also got a tide that pulls out late in the day, revealing a rocky path below southward bluffs. Take enough ginger steps over slippery stones and you’ll hit the Pardee Seawall, from which a snaking asphalt river brings you up and over the cliffs, back to where you—and, in some sense, New Haven—came from.