I love being near the water. I love hearing it flowing across rocks in a stream or crashing against the shoreline or splashing up on a ledge. I love the cool, crisp, clear look of a babbling brook. I just love being near the water. I find being near the water to be the ultimate in peace and relaxation. Watching ducks, swans, boats, and even leaves or moss glide across the calm waters with utter grace and ease brings an inner calm to me. Watching and listening to waves break up onto the shore and retreat back into the body of water is mesmerizing. I can lose myself in thought or just sit in total inner silence for hours by the water.
Now…..to clarify a little, here…….that is different from being “at the beach”, in my mind, which is something I’m not a big fan of! I really don’t like being out in the hot sun on a crowded beach – not to say that I don’t like the beach, cause I do – I enjoy feeling the sand in my toes and walking along a beach, enjoying the waves rushing up on my legs. But, put me on a hot beach in the scorching sun with the sand blistering my feet and a ton of people around and I’m not going to be a happy camper – at all! My ideal “beach” scene is a where I’m warm or slightly cool, not getting baked and burned to a crisp by the sun, feeling the breeze on my face and the wet sand and water on my feet, hearing nothing but the waves and seagulls, seeing an occasional person or small group of people wandering by as I sit and read with my feet in the cool water, and being totally relaxed!
So, today I want to talk about some of my favorite memories of being near the water – most of which are right here near Albion! But, first, I need to mention that wherever you read the word “creek”, mentally read it as “crick”, because that is how I mean it to be pronounced….the way I pronounce it! Funny anecdote about that: I was doing an assignment in grammar school – probably something like “What I Did Over The Summer Break” type of assignment. I was telling about time I spent at the creek behind our house and couldn’t figure out how to spell “crick”, so I went to the teacher and asked her how to spell it. She asked me to describe what a “crick” was so she could figure out what I was talking about. When I told her that it was a stream of water, she corrected me and said it is a “creek – c-r-e-e-k”! I still always called it a “crick” and still do, most of the time! HA!
As a child, I remember days at the lake – my grandparents had a cottage on Lake Ontario and we spent a lot of time there. It really didn’t have a beach – just a stony landing at the bottom of the stairs that led to the lake, but we would throw rocks into the water, skip stones, and, of course, walk and swim in the lake. At the top of the stairs were some benches and I used to enjoy sitting there at night in the dark and just listen to the waves that I couldn’t see from there. I remember going to nearby Johnson’s Creek with some friends and when I came out from swimming discovered several leaches on my legs……eeewww……the thought still gives me the creeps! Other childhood water-related memories include family vacations to Atlantic City (long before the casinos took it over) and camping on Conesus Lake – one of the Finger Lakes.
When we moved out to the country, there was a creek that ran out back. I’d walk through the farmer’s field that surrounded our property to a tree-lined hill and climb down the hill to the creek below. It was a nice little creek – clear, cool, and always moving! My boyfriend at the time, Bobby, lived on the next road over and he would walk from his house to the creek and we’d meet there. Other neighborhood kids would go there, too, and we’d get together and have fun by the water! And, I often went and just sat there by myself and just think! I also seem to have some vague, fleeting memories of an occasional cow being there for a drink from the creek and a farmer who didn’t like us being there and shot buck shot our way to scare us off – we weren’t intimidated! I’ve been to several seminars where they would ask us to close our eyes and think of a place that we could go to in our minds to relax……that is always the place I would “go to” – I’d put myself on that creek bank and could actually hear the water rushing over the rocks. I recently stopped at the cemetery that overlooks the creek (no way was I going to walk across the long field and climb down the hill, like I used to – haha) – it is all grown up and much more rugged looking than I remember it, but the creek is still there and still sounds the same. I loved that creek!!!!
Another great place is Lake Alice in Waterport. I actually never knew it was named Lake Alice…..I always new it as Waterport Creek and later heard it called Waterport Pond a lot. It is a huge lake that feeds from Oak Orchard Creek – great for fishing and boating! I went to Waterport school for 5th and 6th grades – a small country school that was part of Orleans County school system - and had a lot of friends who lived along the lake, so spent a lot of time there. We used to swim out to a little “oasis” that was out a ways from the shore near my friend Cathy’s house and I’d watch friends jump from the bridge (I never had the nerve to try that)! There was also an old railroad trestle just down from the main area that we could walk to and go out onto it (again, that was a little scary for me and my fear of heights) – the trestle is closed off, now (and maybe even gone – not sure), because it isn’t safe, anymore (not that it was all that safe to be on when we were kids, either), so I couldn’t get any photos. It was a nice lake to enjoy fun on and near the water!
A waterway you can’t ignore around here is the Erie Barge Canal – it goes right through the center of just about every town around here! Hand dug by immigrants, it officially opened on October 26, 1825 and was created to connect the Hudson River to the Great Lakes to provide easy, inexpensive transportation for goods from the ocean inland. Many a town was born and built up along the canal as a major center of commerce – Albion, included! I drive over the canal several times every day, because I live just north of it and can’t get to town any way I go without coming up on at least one canal bridge! Back in the day, mules pulled the barges along the tow path. Now, tug boats pull the barges and the tow path is a great recreational path for walkers and cyclists. The canal is mainly a recreational waterway, now – although it is still used for commercial transportation. Boaters use the canal for fun and people can be found on the banks fishing. The canal is quite a work of art — full of locks to guide boats through changing elevations and lift bridges that raise to allow taller boats to pass by street intersections. I remember hearing the bells ring, signaling that the lift bridge was being raised for a boat, and we would run to ride the bridge up, watch the boat go under it, and ride it back down. We used to ice skate on the canal in the winter, but it wasn’t a safe activity, so the canal is now drained during the winter months and refilled in the spring. Here are some photos I took the other day of the section between the Main St and Ingersoll St lift bridges – both are within a couple of blocks from my house! In the photos are some tugs, tenders, and barges that are docked across from the police station and fire hall on Platt and Bank Streets and the Ingersoll St lift bridge.
I’ve written a lot on here about Lake Ontario and Point Breeze. The Point is one of my most favorite places on earth! It is the spot where the Oak Orchard River and Lake Ontario meet, so you have the vast Great Lake and a calmer river with marinas and docks all within spitting distance of each other. I love sitting there watching the boats make their way from the marinas on the river out onto the lake and back in. I enjoy taking a loaf a bread and feeding the many ducks and swans that populate the area. It is peaceful and bustling all at the same time — the water is calming, but there is always a lot of activity with fisherman and boats and bikers and on and on! I just love it there! Here are some photos I took this week.
Recently, I discovered two local waterfalls that I wasn’t aware of (or don’t remember) when I was growing up here. One in Holley (first photo below) and one in Clarendon (second photo) – both quite pleasant to visit!
There is nothing quite as spectacular as a sun set (or sun rise) over the water…….words can never describe it and photos rarely capture it! Here is the sun setting over the lake at Point Breeze one evening last summer.
Since I lived in NC for 26+ years, you’d think I’d have lots of great stories about the water, but I really don’t have that many – oh, there were a couple small man-made lakes nearby (Harris and Jordan Lakes) and a couple rather large rivers (Deep River and Haw River), but I never really got interested in them. And, as for the ocean…..like I mentioned earlier, I am not really a fan of the hot beaches – we did spend some time at Carolina Beach, but it was not a place I really enjoyed a lot. We went on a fishing boat out onto the ocean, once, but I got very sea sick. I spent a few days at a work retreat at Atlantic Beach that was very enjoyable – mainly because we went in the off-season and it wasn’t terribly hot and not at all crowded. I LOVED a trip we made to the Outer Banks for our first wedding anniversary, though - we spent a couple of days at Nags Head and then drove the whole length of the Outer Banks – a wonderful trip that I really enjoyed a lot! I have enjoyed spending time on the river front in Savannah and the South Street Seaport in NYC and drove parts of the Pacific Coast Highway in California – all very beautiful. I enjoy taking boat tours, when available, wherever I go — the one we took in Arizona was incredible and I loved the one I took from NYC’s South Street Seaport to Yankee Stadium where I watched a Yankee’s game – NICE!!! I also love being out on the deck of a cruise ship, just looking out over the ocean! But, I still love all the options we have around here to be on or near the water most of all – lots of memories and time spent just soaking in the peace and quiet!
So, I’ll leave you with my foot in a flip-flop on a cruise ship deck in Nassau, Bahamas……peace and fresh sea air – just doesn’t get any better than this!