Friday, August 17, 2012

runaway return

It was hard to wake up this morning, after sleeping in on a lumpy bed, waking up groggy to greet the sunrise behind castle-like clouds looming over the island on the horizon, but rituals of St. Drogo, the familiar routine of coffee and power chords, or in this case blastbeats, watching The Kids file in and out, it's not a bad place to come back to.

Driving through the western half of Ohiostan is its own adventure, and there was something strange in the incongruity from place to place, of the stately palatial homes along the lake, the slightly tackier dwellings of the nouveau riche or those with bad taste, heading further out past crumbling and faded facades in towns built on the steel no longer made here, a post office building housing a "buy gold" enterprise, empty factories like some Springsteen cliche.

The turn onto the island reveals a somewhat-new welcome center and a brand-spanking new Border Patrol station just across the street. The juxtaposing of 'welcome tourists' and the razor wire on the other side is disconcerting to me. As soon as I pull in it starts to rain, but I have a trunk full of books and a few layers so I make myself a cup of tea, begin with the pile and listen to the sound of the waves, talk to the next-door neighbor and heir to this chunk of peninsula who in the name of history lets my grandparents rent this place cheaper than a hood apartment in Clevelandia, as he tells me about retirement, traveling around to see jam bands, and the surveillance drones that fly over the water.

where's the pictures? you might ask. Some of us don't utilize technological devices while driving... most of the time.

This has been the childhood idyll of so long, and the emotional retreat in my adulthood that there's a part of me that has a sense of innocence lost. Crass tourism is one thing, the encroachment is another. I suppose it makes people feel safe but it's just weird to me.  The sky once felt so open that we played under, there are now snakes in the water where we swam, nonpoisonous but still awkward, I read the first volume of the Gormenghast trilogy, chunks of the annotated Hobbit, Arabian Nights and Days by Naguib Mahfouz,travel writing about awesome places that I'll probably never get to see because they've been similarly obliterated by both commercialistic and state shenanigans.

Still, there was beauty to be found, a sense of pristineness, I guess. It rained so much that the green was easy on the eyes and abundant. We drove to a state park known for being a primo birding spot, due to its closeness to the lake and the marshy wetlands full of light pink mallow and lotuses, the tower of the nuke plant notwithstanding.
 As kids we once played on the beach and collected the pale pink shells of freshwater clams, the beach has been left to revert, no sand Zambonis or lifeguards, and underneath the menacing clouds, the tension in the green water, it had an air of wildness that I loved.
 There was a boardwalk through the swampy woods that reminded me of some rainforest with its lushness and only being able to hear the drone of insects, the sound of wind on wet leaves like rain, the solitude.

The rest of the three days was spent reading more, drinking more tea, making fires, gazing up at the stars, having a subsequent dark night of the soul, good conversations with the parents, and waking up the last morning for a sunrise perhaps not quite so epically paintlike but still beautiful.
In all honestly, I like those dark moments before the sun hits best. Sad that one can't see the sliver of crescent moon there.
That gold there is hardly done justice, but it was lovely.


  1. maybe you should moonlight as a tour-guide

  2. SNAKES IN THE MUTHAFUCKIN' WATER. Quoi? Blastbeats? I'm so happy. Sniff. Dude, these shots came out swanky, especially the last two (and the leaf, and the crisscrossed branches).