Monday, June 4, 2012

Dam it: Wandering through Windham, May 2012

And after a little longer Blogging Break than I anticipated, prepare for the posting floodgates to open again .....

I unexpectedly needed to spend some time back in CT with a friend and her family at the end of last month. It was a sad visit, and one evening, after an afternoon of rituals, family, friends, and food, I found a few hours of sunlight left to burn. Loathe to return to an empty house quite yet, I turned myself and the car loose on the back roads of CT.

Like a homing beacon, I felt drawn to a place where my father and I had spent quality time together. (Of course, it wasn't until I just typed that did I realize why I felt the need to revisit this particular setting from my childhood. Our sub-consciousnesses are strange.)

My brother has blogged about how our father has passed down the love of being on the water. He used to take us canoeing out at the local dam, and later used to spend hours out there kayaking--solo, or with a family member. The dam and park were also areas where we spent time parked with dad trying to hash out adolescent angst, or out on foot, walking around the high dam walls over by the airport -- processing many an issue, or in one notable case, ending a long-term relationship.

Of course, it'd been decades since I'd been out at the actual dam, and I got lost the first time. Not so much lost, as misdirected/overshot/needing to reattempt the entry. I circled around the back roads, through misty afternoon showers, summer sunsets, and then found the correct route to where I wanted to go.

I must have looked pretty strange, climbing up the steep stairs in a somber funeral dress, but I had to go, exchange the air in my lungs, breathe in the mist, and look over the horizon for some perspective.

The pounding of the waters through the sluice gates, the rush of the rapids down the river, the birds singing in the aftermath of a summer shower, and a light breeze up on the dike? As soothing to my soul as the sight of the rolling green hills of "home."

Since it was a quiet evening, and barely anyone was around, I also took a moment to explore the grounds of a converted mill building. When I was growing up, it was abandoned and not nearly in as good shape as this. Can't you picture what a reading nook/work studio would be up there in the clock tower? (I picture big comfy couches, wooden library desks, baskets of yarn ...) I think the windows open/bevel, so you could get a cross breeze and feel the mist off the river.

Back in the car, I headed back up the road to the boat launch area. A storm had gone through earlier and sunset was drawing close, but that hadn't stopped some intrepid kayakers, local fishermen, or others drawn to the water. With all the years that have passed, it's hard to remember how intimidated we were paddling through that culvert to the other side of the lake. Of course, we were smaller, and not as comfortable on the water as we are now. Sitting lower in a kayak helps too.

So dam it all ... Thanks Pop. Thanks for the time, patience, love of water, driving lessons, water lessons, life lessons, and so so so much more than I can say. Please take care of yourself and keep wearing that safety equipment when you are out on Sand Hollow. I'm not ready to cross the breakwater and deal with the rapids that my friend and her family just had to. K? Thanks.

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