EBB & FLOW
Ebb and Flow is a series about our past and our present. It’s a place where we share our moments and memories on the water and beyond.
Originally written in the Summer of 2007 —
topping by Dolores’s porch at the Catskill Marina and sliding into a neatly painted, white Adirondack chair, it was easy to get lost in the haze of a humid afternoon. Gazing lazily across the Catskill Creek, bare feet wilted against the cool, gray wooden floor, one might forget the troubles in the world. In a glance, Mr. Weber, the kind and soft-spoken gentleman who owned the marina, could be seen gliding across the creek he loved in his cherished, vintage wooden Chris Craft. Gaggles of kayakers peacefully paddled by and boats of all stripes meandered up and down the peaceful waterway. If you listened closely you could hear the whiz of fishing lines and the squeals of four youngsters fishing off their dock, making lifetime memories but rarely catching more than an exuberant thrill from that first nibble.
If one were lucky, a bald eagle could be spotted fly fishing or a brazen beaver glimpsed crossing the murky river, slapping the water with its tail to herald its passage. Scuttle-butted ducklings chased their scuttlebutt mommas, enticed to a boater’s swim platform for a snack from a kindhearted human. As the afternoon heated to a sear, the quiet echo of laughter splashed the sticky air from just over yonder poolside. Families and friends grilled beneath the giant, venerable Eastern Cottonwood trees whose centuries in weight, four-arms-around girth, and deep roots embraced the banks who gave birth to them, swearing to hold them steady come flood and foul weather.
Long before the creek was traversed by many, the Hudson River School founder and artist, Thomas Cole, one of the last great landscape artists in America, found his muse here. Now, in many ways, it felt like a Norman Rockwell scene. And, if Rockwell had painted it, he surely would have not forgotten the old rock that squats just ‘cross the creek and peeks through the transient vessels that have come to rest a spell and soak in the beauty here.
Most any boater that’s been down Catskill way knows this rock called Hop O’ Nose. It is said to be named after an Indian tribe of the same name and according to one history writer, specifically, after a Mohican Indian named Hopp who had a very large nose. It pokes out just as the bustling creek bends a bit and heads toward the awakening town. It is in no way a “motif” as one might call a significant landmark in certain parts.
Humans did not make this beauty, whose quiet pronouncement is defined by the rising and lowering tides kissed by it. To many who have wandered here from the splendor of the mighty Hudson, it may have only been something to navigate around and to give a bit of berth to. Just a big rock. However, it represents so much more as it touches the water and lays claim to the love that all boaters share.
This creature of nature represents the passing of time and the possibility of perseverance. It represents what most humans desire. To stay relevant, to stand strong…to remain. It represents belonging and the hope that one’s story will not be forgotten and will forever touch the life of someone, somewhere, somehow.
And while many desire those things, the frenzy of life can consume our quest for success, relevance, or even survival and we forget to stop for a moment and connect with the quiet. We forget that even an ancient rock at the water’s edge can give us pause. Unless we take even just a moment…and notice. That is the mystery and the beauty of this big, meandering river where beasts such as this, discovered long ago, still have stories to tell. And, that was the beauty of Dolores’s porch. One could get lost finding something that had long been discovered.
In the journey from here to there, whether following compass, chart, or GPS, or from beneath the shade of a marina’s tree-lined bucolic riverbanks, take a moment and notice. Notice it all. Every inlet and dappled cove, every deep swimming hole and sandy shoal, every sandbar and suitable anchorage, every joyful gathering and tall-tale telling.
As the sun-drenched day tussles with dusk and the cast of permanents meander the docks, the joy of youthful laughter, mingled with the cheerful clinking and clanking of glasses and cans fades the years. As we gather on the porch to share some supper with a crew of like-minded friends and acquaintances and chart courses to somewhere, this writer realizes the hours just spent pondering the meaning of a rock. This place, this season, this river…this rock! It feels as if it will never change but it can only ever promise to never remain the same…
Note: Dolores’s porch, named by us after the marina Dockmaster and our dear friend Dolores Bouse, was attached to the ship’s store at Catskill Marina and stood through years of storms, floods, and battering winds but was destroyed during Hurricane Irene and never rebuilt. Mr. Weber’s spirit now glides along another river not of this earth. We will be forever grateful for that idyllic and memorable time in our lives. Catskill Marina is now a part of Hop-O-Nose Marina, owned by Sean Meagher.
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STOCK ISLAND MARINA VILLAGE
as a select partner of Adventures of OLOH
as a select partner of Adventures of OLOH