The Beaver Dam

As I look back on the Covid 19 pandemic it is time to assess any positives that may have arisen.

Personally, the year was a time to evaluate my life. What did I intend to do and never did in the years before? Will I do them now or will they be relegated to an expired bucket list? As I muse on the years I spent at Brant Lake one event comes immediately to mind.

It was early morning and friends had joined me for a projected trip up the Spuyten Duyvil, the headstream flowing into the lake. My friends, expert canoeists, boarded a spiffy, lightweight, kevlar canoe. My canoe, a retired retread orange boat, of much greater weight, and called the Adventurer, bore the battle scars of many encounters with rocks during its lifetime of challenging lakes and rivers in the Northeast. Only several days before embarking on the journey to the Spuyten Duyvil, approximately 7 miles away, a strong wind had blown my boat against a downed tree trunk, adding one more wound to the vessel’s white spots where composite filled the damaged hole.

The trip along the lake was undertaken on a day when the lake was calm and travel easy. Past the Point O’ Pines, the archery course at the boys’ Camp, the old site of a North Country inn and Raymond’s cottages. As we glided by Mead’s property we saw the bridge over Palisades Road that marks the end of Brant Lake and the entrance to the Spuyten Duyvil. At this point the lake had narrowed out and we were in a marshy area–but the water flowed and so did we!

Suddenly a beautiful, giant beaver dam formed a barrier extending from one side of the water to the far side. Our way was blocked. The only way to continue our trip was to carry our canoe over the beaver dam, a possibility for two people carrying a kevlar canoe but out of the question for carrying my heavy man-of-war.

What to do? Turn around and return home. No other choice. Our trip had ended. We could see the continuation of the Spuyten Duyvil but we could not go on!

Since that day I have thought of embarking once again in a lighter canoe. But will I? How many adventures remain unfinished? They may be experiences that I will start but never finish. We look out to the horizon but we can’t continue. During the pandemic, in my mind, I visited places where I probably will never go, dreams unfulfilled, but existing in my imagination waiting for the future in a land of make believe.


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