Monday, September 28, 2020

Out to the Beach With Rachel

 Rachel went out for a ride with me on Saturday. She was hoping to catch some autumn reds and I was hoping to put my feet back in the lake. I thought we could compromise by going to Fair Haven Beach State Park. I found the lake, but the reds we saw were few. I hope she wasn't too very disappointed.



It's going to be a busy work week. I'm back to a 6:30 am start time for at least a week and a half. Super glad I've already done it all summer because it isn't such a shock to my system now. Car is in the shop again. I'm hoping the sound of crickets while driving is just an old belt... Maybe a little overtime this week is a good thing.

It's been eleven years now since my dad's passing. I can't imagine we've been without him for that long already.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

A Solitary Sunday, Sort of...

I didn't go to church Sunday morning. I attempted to listen online, but turned the computer off when the announcements became unbearable long and dry. I decided to listen another time and go out into the world alone for a second day in a row. This time I drove east.

I considered driving all the way to Fair Haven Beach State Park, but changed my mind and headed for Chimney Bluff, which is also now a state park. I didn't bother parking at the top of the bluff, but drove instead to where East Bay Rd falls into the lake. Literally.

It was the perfect day. I walked along the stone beach taking in the scenery. There were many more people than at either of the two parks on Saturday's adventure. I was a single individual in the midst of many.


I sat on the beach, close the water, and looked out over the lake. Two sailboats in the distance caught my attention. Their bottoms looks big and bulky, unlike any sailboat I've ever seen before. I determined to ask my Florida yacht captain friend about them.

I was sitting in the stones at the base of the bluffs when something along the water's edge moved. It was a little, brown frog! It seemed an unusual place to a frog, but there he was just the same. Every now and again a wave would wash over him and I'd have to remind myself that frogs are water animals, unlike the monarch in the lake the previous day.

I struck up a conversation with a barefooted fellow, mostly because his feet were bare. He'd had them in the water and was letting them dry before putting his shoes back on. I was amused. He was friendly enough and I learned several things about the guy, but not his name. I wasn't looking for names, just friendly conversation.

Down the beach was a family of six. Mon was nursing a baby and Dad was stacking rocks. I'd been amused by the barefooted guy, but was intrigued by the "rock star" dad. He was amazing, and was obviously passing his love of the art on to his boys. The rocks they stacked were not simply flat and round. They were professional rock stackers!

After at least two hours lollygagging on the beach below the bluffs, soaking in the sun, and taking in the sights, nature made and urgent call and I headed back to the parking area and rest rooms. 

I found a Youtube video taken last year when the lake levels were higher and the beach much smaller than this year. If you're interested it will show you where I was, along with "the end of the road."

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

An Unaccompanied Outing

 I looked up "solitary" in the thesaurus. I found words like lonely, desolate, and withdrawn, but I did not feel friendless or forsaken in my weekend wanderings. I felt peace.

After my time at Lakeside Beach State Park, I headed east. Hamlin Beach was next on the parkway. As I'd already paid the $6 fee to get into one state park, I figured I'd make it worth the money and stop at two. I drove to the farthest parking area, walked to the beach, and took my shoes off. The park was sparsely populated with only a few individuals here and there.

The water was surprisingly cold but I was undeterred, intent on enjoying the moment to its fullest. The previous park's beach was mostly stone. Hamlin Beach is mostly sand, both course and fine.

A driftwood log made a good seat. As I let my feet dry I noticed groups of geese float in from the lake on the far side of the beach until the beach was teaming with waterfowl. Some stood guard while others preened or took naps.

After the geese came the seagulls. They rested on on the water until close to land, and then flew to the beach, segregating themselves from the geese initially, and mixing ranks as their numbers grew.

It was getting late in the afternoon when I took my camera and headed back to the car. My heart was full and my mind at ease. I would get home in time to stop at the grocery store, and maybe even in time to stop at Webster Park to soak in the sunset...

Monday, September 21, 2020

The Solitary Life

 It was a challenge of sorts. I had no weekend plans. I decided to spend the day alone. Just me, my car, and my camera. I survived. I even so enjoyed my time alone that I decided to do it again on Sunday. More growing. More learning. More stretching myself. And more discovering who I am and what I love.

Saturday, September 20, at Lakeside Beach State Park, Waterport, NY.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

More Mystery Solving

 This afternoon I again went to visit my friend Gail at her cottage. We walked down to the water and scoured the rock shore for beach glass, she searching for large pieces, and I picking up crumbs. Tiny bits of glitter on the shore; clear, white, amber, green, and cobalt blue. 

I sat directly on the rocks as I searched the shore, scooching over every so often, picking bits of glass from the stones, and once in a while getting up to look from a different perspective. We'd started at the far east end of the beach and worked our way toward the opposite end, dropping whatever we found into plastic bags.

I'd already reached the other side when I put my hand on my back pocket to check my phone, but my pocket was empty. I was certain my phone was back in my car and didn't worry. It wasn't until we were on our way back when I remembered I'd had my phone inside Gail's cottage before we'd headed to the beach. Maybe I'd left it in her bathroom...  Nope.

I told Gail I'd lost my phone, and headed back to the beach to look for it. I didn't worry that someone else had picked it up. Holland's Cove's a private little beach, tucked into a small cove, and there weren't many people there today, just a few women sitting in lawn chairs toward the western edge.
It was a short walk. I said a quick prayer as I started across the rocks toward the water, and there on the shore was the biggest piece of "beach glass" I'd ever found! (It was actually my phone.)
Pictures are from this evening's jaunt to the park in Pultneyville. Gail and I bought sandwiches at the deli and ate them in the park. The lake was smooth and calm again.

* I lost my phone last week too, while my sisters and I were on our way to Ithaca. I'd had it when we stopped halfway to use the potty, and when we got to our second potty stop half an hour or so later (It was the coffee...), it was missing. I looked around in my car and saw nothing. Rachel called me and we couldn't hear anything, but her service is spotty.  I thought Priscilla should try, and if someone answered, we would know it was in the convenience store in Ovid. If successful, we could call Laurie (Priscilla's SIL) and see if she would retrieve it for me, but when Priscilla called my phone, we heard it ringing. It had slipped under my seat and was hiding.

I'm okay, friends. I'm really okay. Doing fabulous and enjoying the life with which God has blessed me. He is so very good.

How Mysterious

 Before I forget these stories...

I took our work babies outside to the swings one afternoon last week. I put them in the swings, buckled them in, and gave each one a graham cracker. (I think I broke the rules there... , but I also forgot their sun hats... ) My little friend Emmy had a pacifier in her mouth which I plucked from her lips and placed beside her in the swing. It was not a terribly sunny day, but it was rather hot and sticky. When 10 or 15 minutes had elapsed, I put them back in the buggy and headed back toward the building.

It wasn't until the next day when we had a inconsolable 15 month old that we realized her Binky was missing. It was nowhere to be found when Amber asked if I'd seen it anywhere. I wracked my brain and suddenly remembered. "I know where it is!" I said, and hurried off to the baby swings only to discover it wasn't there either. I couldn't understand where it could have gone. It wasn't in the swing or on the ground, and I knew I'd had it last. How would the poor child manage? More importantly, how would Amber manage? Who might have picked it up?
On my way back inside, and feeling foolish at having lost this precious item, I decided to ask a few other teachers. The toddlers had been outside just after the infants the previous afternoon so I started there. "Did any of your kids find a pacifier outside?" I asked Caitlyn. I was grateful for her answer.
"Yes," she replied, "Maggie did. It's in my sunscreen basket up on the shelf." And there it was! Mystery solved. That little pink Binky, still in the swing, had caught the eye of a newly turned 17 month old, and therefore the attention of one toddler teacher. I was much relieved to return the missing soother to my new friend Emmy and I'm sure Amber was more than relieved as well.
(There was another mystery this week as well, but it has mysteriously vanished from my memory for the time being. I thought it would come back to me as I wrote this, but it hasn't. Perhaps it will return in time for a subsequent blog of it's own. Since I have not pictures of work babies or pink pacifiers, you are blessed to feast your eyes on little Henry who had a paper plate for dessert at his brother's birthday celebration this evening. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JAKE!)

Monday, September 07, 2020

A Day of Memories and Memory Making

I took my sisters on an adventure this weekend. We returned to a place of wonder and childhood memories...

Rachel was a baby the first time we camped at Robert H. Treman State Park just outside of Ithaca, NY. We would return when she was a year old, and again a year or so later. Dad always camped in the upper campground at the top of the gorge. It was less crowded and he liked that. His favorite spot wasn't always available, but if it was we camped in the corner site just up the hill from the old mill where the bathrooms were located. Today there is no camping allowed in the top of the park. It is just a picnic ground and I think most of it goes unused and inaccessible to the public. We didn't go to camp though, we went to hike the gorge.

It was a beautiful day full of memories. So many first experiences I remember from this place. Wonderful memories of my mother showing me creatures in the creek; minnows, water striders, and dragonflies. Perhaps I am drawn here to heal...

She taught me how to skip rocks in the creek, and shared a love wading up or down the stream on the flat sheets of slate that line the creek bed.

I learned that Daddy-Long-Legs don't bite and it is okay if they crawl over my leg or along my arm.

We were told never to go into the Gorge Trail alone, but were allowed ample free time to play together in the creek at the top. I didn't take much thought for the rock retaining wall when I was six, but it is what makes this spot on the creek recognizable all these years later. Seeing those cut stones brings back a sense of comfort. This is where I sat on a rock while Dad helped me tie my shoes fifty years ago.

On Saturday we followed the signs that said "due to Covid-19" we should hike down the Gorge Trail, and back up the Rim Trail, a 4 1/2 mile hike. In all our camping trips there as a child, I'd never hiked the Rim Trail, so that was a new experience in a well loved and familiar park.

It was a beautiful day and I am forever grateful to my sisters for going along and making me smile. (Yes, my legs are feeling the burn. I don't know how many steps are in the "Great Staircase" but my phone tells me I climbed 65 floors on Saturday. LOL!)