At the Water’s Edge In My Dream

Yesterday, Pete and I took our camera and had a frigging adventure. The man can take a picture that tells a whole story.

Midday, Donaldson Park from the Third Avenue Entrance. The water beyond the trees is the river.

We started at the park, where the park rangers had taped off the roadway. The river regularly floods and overflows into the park, which is why it is a park. The county forgot this and put in some very expensive, years-long renovations. They are about to be junk. People in town talk about the renovations in statements that trail off and nobody knows what to make of it all. Officially, I mean. We know these mistakes make for awesome, dramatic photos and fat, obnoxious geese. A whole herd of folks in rugged raingear turned up to see what they knew they’d see and what they’ll see again: the floodplain, flooded.

The tree stood next to the old farm house around which the tiny town was built. Just out of frame to the left is a destroyed car barely visible under the treetop. Yes, we were driving by.

We drove around town, dodging fallen trees and crunching over branches. This house is about five blocks from where we live under trees just as tall. The roaring wind the night before had made Pete and the cats antsy.

Early afternoon: Easton Avenue in Somerset, which Trout described as “the canoe-thru Wendy’s.” Through the trees, the canal and the river are running at the same height as the road, which I can only remember seeing a few times before.

We had to plot and scheme to get to the grocery store in our hometown, about 2.5 miles away. Fortunately, we rode bikes on the back roads as teenagers, but we had to outwit lost yuppies who moved into town ten years ago. When we got to the fence above Easton Avenue, about a dozen other people were snapping pictures before storming the grocery store, where cashiers loudly exclaimed they thought we were crazy to be out in driving rain, which we weren’t. The surface of the water is smooth.

Late afternoon: Donaldson Park from the Second Avenue entrance. The county has been renovating this park since Hurricane Floyd wrecked it in a way that looked pretty much just like this, except with fewer brand new backstops and soccer goals.

Less than five miles upstream, two towns sit below sea level. They get creamed in serious, fatal ways during and after nor’easters. It’s hard to watch the same drama play out every seven or eight years. We put on boots and take pictures and join in the cosmic joke.

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