Sunday, July 15, 2012

we few...

96 today, 99 tomorrow and the next day. A weather pattern that’s stuck. I can’t look the truck farmers in the eye. Each day, I feel their heaviness.

Our garden is surviving. Not thriving maybe, but getting by. Each morning, we think strategically where to run water. Who will benefit most? Who will welcome the relief from the endless waves of hot air?


In the afternoon, we consider an outing (at the very least, moving beyond the confines of the cool farmhouse), but somehow we cannot work up great enthusiasm of it.

...until Ed says – want to go swimming in a quarry?

Say what?

I used to swim in a hole east of here – he tells me.
Well, you take the road east, get out of the car at the railroad tracks, walk alongside them for a while, turn in and you’ll come across these... holes with water. Once quarries. Maybe.

I have lived in Madison since 1979 and I’d never heard of these. I’m skeptical.
Devil’s Lake had warm water and parasites. And Devil’s Lake is deep! Why would these 'holes' be even safe for the likes of you and me?
We can go look.

Yes, I’m game for that.

Twenty minutes later, we park the car, by railroad tracks, there, just as Ed had remembered them...


We follow along. Five minutes, ten, twenty... I think we may have missed it, Ed mumbles. 
But we keep going. 

I mean – I know we are relying on Ed’s hazy recollection of some watering hole here decades ago, but still, you can't just let go of an idea when you've gone this far.

We find a path!

No, it's a bust. It leads nowhere.

Let's go a little more. 
This can't be right. I don't remember it being far.
We never remember things being far...

And shortly, there’s another narrow path, and this one does lead somewhere – to a quiet and secluded pond, where bugs hover and fish look at you with puzzlement and dragon flies dart, back and forth, as if it were some kind of new game that they'd invented.


It’s hot, and the water is not really swimming stuff...


... but I have to say, it is an oddly magical little spot. The kind of place you dream of going to if you’re ten and you’ve run away from home and plan on never again returning (except that deep down, you hope your family will eventually find you because at night, it seems like this could be a dark and lonely place).


We sit by the water and watch the dragon flies and these guys are too crazy quick for me to photograph on the sly. The fish are more obliging.


But as we are about to leave, my favorite elusive dragon fly sits right down in fron of me and allows himself to be photographed and truly, it’s as if he knew all about people and cameras and could tell when to mess with me and when to finally give in.


We leave and follow a path around this hole and the adjacent one and I have to ask – how is it that you ever found these?
My buddy showed me...
Buddy? Do I know him? 
No, moved to New York some time ago... His name's Gregory...

My more recent history, or at least my memories of it orbit around events in my life as they relate to having daughters. Oh, this was before they were born, oh that was when she was five and the younger one was two. And so on. Ed’s recollections are random. He can't be bothered with chronology, he wont recall a progression -- what followed and what preceded one year or the next.

And still, I sense that in that chaos of memories, he has a real sense of what counted and mattered. His long ago venture out to this watering hole created, for whatever reason, a good memory. 

Watching the fireflies do their thing now, I’m thinking – this, for us, is also a good moment. A very good moment.

We circle the "holes" and return to the car.

DSC01645 - Version 2

In the evening, after a Sunday dinner at the farmhouse with my girl and her guy, we go out to water  the tomatoes. It's Ed's turn to hold the hose.