Summer days, summer phase

This dream feels revisited, yet simultaneously fresh. I’m driving, the car is sliding very slowly towards another car’s side. The crunch is noiseless. I know this won’t end well.

I’ve been thinking about where we could go swimming safely when the weather reaches up towards 90 degrees. Much is being written about how to go to the beach Upstate, or down where the ocean touches our shores. Many others are thinking as we are.

I lose myself in Googlemaps, running my finger around lakes, along river and stream courses. I do the same within my memory of little-known swimming holes I might return to.


The lighthouse will be too crowded. Woodstock and other Catskills communities will be blocking crowds. It doesn’t feel right inviting ourselves over to the older folks who have private pools.

There’s a spot along the Hudson we used to go to when Milo was younger. We’d make mud forts and wade into the water through river slop, creek shoes on. My secret swimming holes in the Catskills don’t really warm up for a month yet.

The giant circular pool up the hill a hundred yards across, built during FDR’s time as governor, will likely not open this year. It always felt like a sunny Petri dish, anyway, though a true egalitarian paradise.

One time I took the kid into a brackish lake in the lower Adirondacks. A couple came out of the forest warning us about leeches as we waded in, When we came out, I wiped the dark wigglers off us and swore Milo to secrecy. As soon as we got home, he ran in to the dining room and announced how “I got weeches!”

Fawn’s back went out this week. I’ve been feeling weakened by allergies, but frightened of infection. This may be like the way I now think of driving. It’s only a matter of odds before you hit a deer, slide off the road, or get hit by someone.

I got my own first back spasm the same month I took my first driving lessons in Vermont. We practiced braking on an ice patch bounded by giant snowpacks in a high-school parking lot.

At least until we enter Phase Two. maybe the best option will be a better spray nozzle on the garden hose. I can’t wait until none of us remembers what that means any more.


Read more installments of Village Voices by Paul Smart.