I’ve never known the small river running through town to disappoint. The North Branch Raritan pulses as though a pulmonary artery gives life to Bedminster, while interstate highways 78 and 287 crisscross, bringing people and commerce, everyone traveling in and out like vestiges on flimsy film. Beneath The Hills townhouses, the river skirts Schley Mountain of the Watchung Ridge. The 500 foot summit is southermost of smoothened volcanic ridge tops from the Triassic and Jurassic periods, three lines of hills tracing elevations of 400 to 500 feet nearly to Mahwah 40 miles away.
Bedminster Township’s northwestern triangle begins a deciduous ascent from Piedmont Plain to New Jersey’s Highlands. Schley Mountain is a Piedmont formation but nearly touches the Wisconsin Glacier’s swath of terminal moraine, tree roots like rope anchor ties to boulders. Spilling into the river long ago, glacial Lake Passaic leaves behind a local arboretum making peace here, where stone finished a rough, icy ride, the lake vanishing as swamp, field, and forrest took its place.
My wife and I feel uniquely stationed in town at both an ancient and contemporary crossroads. To pinpoint Bedminster on supercontinent Pangaea’s ubiquitous unity of landmass 200 million years ago is to mark the center region. Converging highways matter less. Traffic flow will never pace deliberately as river water undulates with a rhythm subtler than time captured by a clock.
On weekends, we walk our black Labrador, Sadie, along Bedminster Hike and Bike Trail flanking the river banks–a southward side, and then along the northerly edge. Sadie swims all seasons. She breaks thin bubble-pocked ice like peanut brittle as she tries to climb atop. During summer, my son, Matt, and I ride bikes to park between bridges supporting the entry and exit roadways to AT&T World Headquarters–the entire globe crisscrosses here–and we snorkel clear, clean depths, trading between us a GoPro camera. Mounted on his forehead, and then on mine, smallmouth bass meet us face to face. Brown trout flick from view quicker than the electronic shutter.