Thursday, November 27, 2014

Anchors A-Weigh: A Random Klutz Story

Not sure I understand it, but that is, in fact,
a boat anchor hanging from a tree.

After an almost sinfully huge Thanksgiving dinner this afternoon, I took the overstuffed body out for a much-needed walk in the brisk breeze around my old neighborhood in Martinsville. It was quite pleasant; I always enjoy roaming the paths I frequented as a youngster, particularly at Lake Lanier, just down the street from my mom's. I confess I was intrigued to find a boat anchor suspended from a tall tree along the lake bank. I'm not sure it's actually keeping that tree from drifting away, but then, I'm no expert in nautical matters.

In my reckless youth, I took great pleasure in riding my bicycle on every local trail — or anything that even remotely passed for a trail — no matter how primitive or dangerous it might be. In recent years, the once-rugged trail, now called The Blue Heron, around one side of Lake Lanier has been leveled and partially graveled, and the lake association has constructed a few elevated wooden walkways over the steep-sided inlets that I used to zoom up and down on my bike. Quite miraculously, back then I never did end up in the water. I reserved that ignominious feat for adulthood, when I was on foot on the upgraded trail. No, not today, but several years ago, on a similarly frigid, windy day. I was enjoying the scenic view, which has changed little since my days of enthusiastic bike riding, and instead of watching where I was going, I was looking uphill at an attractive house built into the woods that hadn't been there in my youth. A few days before, there had been some rain, but for the most part the trail was dry. I hadn't anticipated there being any lingering slickery spots.

Never, ever fail to anticipate.
The very spot where I will not admit to
having fallen in the lake, except I did.

Next thing I know, I'm hearing a disturbingly heavy splash, and I'm looking at my feet way up in the air above me, and bone-chilling water is rushing over me like a cataract. I'm frantically pulling things out of my pockets — my cell phone, my wallet, my keys, anything the water might ruin — and mentally composing an aria of old, new, and spontaneously concocted swear words (think of Darren McGavin in A Christmas Story). I feel something between my teeth, and thinking it might be important, I clench my jaw shut so that whatever it is won't escape. After a few moments, I realize it is a leaf. Reluctantly, I set it free.

Once I finally dragged my sorry, soaked ass out of the shallow water, I determined with some relief that my cell phone had escaped submersion, and — above all things — that no one had been on the trail nearby to witness this act of unparalleled brilliance. On my frigid, three-quarter-mile walk back home, I did pass several walkers who raised their eyebrows at my obviously waterlogged figure, but I gave them my best nonchalant smile and continued on my way.

Today on my walk, I did encounter an old buddy, David Vogelsong, whom I've not seen except on Facebook in several decades. Nice indeed. I did venture into the nearby woods to check on one of my geocaches — "Castle Rock" (GC1BWV2) — where, a couple of years ago, the lovely Kimberly took a less-than-graceful tumble herself. That, however, can be a story for another day.

Click on images to enlarge.
The old boathouse at Lake Lanier. When I was a kid, I'd ride my bike down to it
with friends to get sodas, candy, and ice pops here.
Walkways along the Blue Heron Trail. They weren't there when I used to tempt fate
on my bike zooming up and down around the inlets.
The wind was really whipping across the lake today. At least I stayed dry.
I've always loved this lake view. It's changed little in half a century.

1 comment:

Kimo Esarey said...

Thanks for the story and the Pictures. I grew up in Martinsville and spent many of my Saturday mornings fishing on Lake Lanier with Bobby Richardson and Tommy Myers. We spent hours and hours fishing and riding our bikes around that lake. It was a pretty good ride from Gratton Road to the lake too, with fishing tackle, electric motor, a car battery, etc. We were a sight to see I am sure. Your pictures brought back some great memories. Thanks