Sunday, July 10, 2016

Day 10

Photo by J. Grandbois
I spent yesterday visiting a state park that my family frequented with some regularity when I was growing up.  It had been at least 20 years since I'd last visited there.  I tried to recall when my last visit was and I think it was sometime in 1993 or 1994 when I worked at a summer camp.  We brought the international staff there for a picnic lunch or something...

I was in a very abusive relationship at the time and my memories of those years are somewhat cloudy. Being on high alert at all times does strange things to the brain, so I may be recalling that incorrectly. In any case, it was a long time ago.

The Park had changed a lot of course.  The foliage along the shore walk had grown up so much you could not see the ocean even from the top of the old bunkers that are there.  As I kid I tried to imagine what it must have been like being stationed there in WWII, staring out to sea, wondering if the Germans were coming.  I imagined USO dances where the ladies all looked like the Andrews Sisters.

The battery has been cleared out and you can walk inside.  When I was there last they were still back filled with large piles of dirt.  They are also now filled with graffiti, some good, some not so good. Mostly it's notice of who has been there and what their agonies were (Jesse was here...Love Hurts...demons no matter what I choose...).  On my walk back to the main parking lot I was passed by two eager young men with flash lights in hand, intent on exploring the darker parts of the battery.

Some things I did not remember being there at all.  There is a breakwater that I stood and stared at for a good ten minutes trying to recall some memory of it. I thought walking the length of it might jiggle free a recollection but it didn't.  There was an old stone fountain that was no longer working but still beautiful to look at, and a hidden garden that maybe was not there at all when I visited in the past.

And I remembered other things.  The spot where my brother dropped a shirt full of shells and cried because most were broken.  The rocks that my brother and I sat on waiting for waves to splash us. The wall where I sorted sea urchin shells because I'd found so many and I couldn't bring them all home; I had to choose just a few. I remember lollygagging on the trails back to the car because I didn't yet want to go home and being told I'd surely be left behind if I didn't catch up.  And I remembered thinking it might not be so bad to live alone by the sea among the trees, eating berries and clams...

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