Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I Can See Clearly Now






Hi folks, it's GREAT to be back, especially as this is the first time in several years I can actually see things as well as I could in the past. When the other eye is finished the vision should be as good, if not better, than I enjoyed as a youth.
This is just a short account of how it feels to be able to see all the beauty we all take for granted in our busy lives. Yesterday was the first time my brain really figured out the new focus signals to the extent that driving was once again possible, and ENJOYABLE!! As we had cause to be on the road to the University town just to our north, I chose to make the return trip into a "rediscovery" of some of the many sights that had been so diminished for so long. As fate would have it (more habit of neglect really) the camera was left on the computer table at home, an occurrence more and more common as the sight waned. I'll have to retrain myself to always take it as in the past. Fortunately, my wife had taken some photos of some of my favorite local places (within five miles of home),and four are shown above.
The first is the west dam in the river, as viewed from the little island where we often go for easy access to outdoor solitude. The next is a view of the lower part of our hill, which also shows the Town Ski Slope across the river from us. Then a rest area beside one of the numerous local lakes. And lastly, a view of the lake our friends live on, taken from their driveway, looking through the trees where he's cleared away the undergrowth. These places, and many more, are the reason I returned here to such a harsh climate and remote location when I retired.
The little island by the dam is where I decided to stop first, and reintroduce the view to my eyes, and it was nearly like experiencing it for the first time years ago. We live on the eastern slope of the river valley created by one of Maine's largest and longest rivers. Although grossly polluted in years past, and some purist environmentalists would say still polluted, the water is actually now safe to swim in and even drink. This is the result of the 1970s environmental laws pushed through by Senator Ed Muskie, who grew up in Rumford along the river, and was alarmed and saddened by what the river had become as a result of wanton waste disposal by towns and the paper mills along its length. Following the enactment of the Federal Statutes, the State enacted even more stringent laws, and then many mill towns, the one we now call home among them, enacted even stricter laws and created Environmental Monitor positions within the town government.
The island is about one and a half miles downstream from the larger of the town paper mills, and was made into a public park, canoe portage, and picnic area, before opening it up to the people. The dam in the photo is the western part, then the island is about one hundred fifty feet wide before the eastern dam extends across a wider stretch of the river and ends at an old hydro-electric station. The station is inaccessible, and I've always meant to ask how often the thing is online, if ever. If it's working, it's damned quiet! The little island has a small dirt road leading from the mill road and across the bridge below the dam, ending in a postage stamp of a dirt parking lot. Even though there's a sign at the access road, few people other than locals ever wander down it, as it doesn't look especially interesting. There's a nice landing on both the upstream and downstream banks of the island, with a well maintained trail between for the use of the many canoe and kayak enthusiasts, who paddle the river from the source in New Hampshire to the sea.
The joy of the place is in finding it deserted, as we did yesterday, and simply shutting off the car and sitting quietly, listening to the water rushing over the dam. As a couple, we have many things in common, one being the ability and desire to sit quietly for long stretches of time, just enjoying our surroundings. After an hour or so of watching the birds, the fish jumping, the water flowing, and the leaves rustling from the almost constant valley wind, I find it hard to return to the reality that calls us back to the things humans create to vex themselves. Human things done in a seemingly fruitless attempt to make life easier. How much easier can it get than living in the midst of a gift from nature, and marvelling peacefully at all the wonders therein? Until next time, take care.

13 comments:

Hahn at Home said...

Clearly, you see...and describe.

Welcome back, Mike.

The Guy Who Writes This said...

Even ugly things look good when you can see.

Mike S said...

Guy, it's a good thing, else I'd not be able to stand my reflection:)

Brother Tim said...

I'm glad your vision is returning. You've been in my prayers, my friend. Nice pics BTW.

Patricia said...

Hi, Mike.
Nice piece. Beautiful place. It's nice to just sit for a while somewhere quiet in nature, and just watch the small fish and animal things happen. It unfrazzles the soul.
And it's nice to see and think about your place for doing that, and even better to know that you can see it clearly, now.
I'm glad everything went well, Mike.

cwilcox said...

Beautiful Mike. It's great news you are recovering nicely. One question though, How much are you getting in kickbacks from yorkshire Tea?

Brother Tim said...

You got some GOOD eyes, Red Hog!!!

I had to blow up the picture to check it out. I thought they were Coronas or Heinekens or something. Guess I better have my eyes checked.

Mike.....what's the name and number of your orb mechanic?

Auntie said...

Great news, Mike. And thanks for sharing the photos of your favorite spots!

FENICLE said...

Everything looks better in color! And clear too. Thanks for visiting my site...and for the nice comments.

Of all my senses, I think vision would be a very difficult one to lose. You have a good perspective.

ursusdave said...

Hey Mike, good to be reading your new stuff.
I "poached" that pic of the hill by your house and have it as my desktop background for a few days.
Reading about how you are getting good sight back causes me to pause and be grateful for our modern medical care.

Cherie said...

Hi Mike. I see you in comment forums all over and finally thought I'd check out your site.

First, glad for you that your vision is being restored. I took a nasty hit to my own eye yesterday during our home construction project. Small piece of Hardiboard fell off the top of the ladder, hurled at me so fast I had no time to blink so it hit my open eye. I was afraid to look, afraid to open my eye for fear of blindness. How thankful I was to be able to see! So, I understand your joy at vision. (Got a bit of shiner today which my kids think is cool......me, not so much.)

Second, that last paragraph of yours, my sentiments exactly.

Leiselb said...

"things humans create to vex themselves. Human things done in a seemingly fruitless attempt to make life easier" this is so well said and so very, sadly, true.

Princess Extraordinaire said...

Great to see you back - I've been a lurker but not a poster until now...