Storytime 33

"silver bridge" across northern tip of Cayuga Lake in fog
Today, we have a reminiscence of a reminiscence – or something like that. What you see here is “Silver Bridge” on the railroad spur that crosses Cayuga Lake, one of the Finger Lakes in central New York, which is where I grew up. Or passed my adolescence, anyway – we won’t discuss how little I’ve actually grown up. It’s known as Silver Bridge, not because it was a key part of the silver trade, or crossed the Silver River or anything like that, but because it once was silver-grey, back when people were painting it routinely – yes, I know, we were creative and clever folk up there.

This is a reminiscence of a reminiscence because it was taken 13 year ago, back when I visited the area again after having been away for a long time – like 16 years. God I’m old. One morning the fog was brilliantly thick and I headed down to the lake to see what I couldn’t see. I had crossed this bridge on foot literally countless times – possibly in the few hundreds – mostly on fishing trips with my dad, but occasionally on snorkeling expeditions and more than a few times in search of wildlife, once I determined that fishing bored me to tears. Even now, I couldn’t care less about eating any given fish filet, and mostly stick to shellfish and octopods for my seafood choices.

I distinctly remember, probably about 12-14 years of age, getting caught in a summer squall right as we were crossing this bridge, wicked high winds and a stinging rain that had picked up velocity crossing the open expanse of the lake, a particularly traumatic experience given that is was an unrestricted drop down to the water about seven meters below, right outside the edge of those ties. The local mooks (meaning, not me) would clamber up the broad face of those uprights that you see here to hurl themselves into the water from the very top of the bridge, because this was rural NY and the bars didn’t open until later in the evening and there wasn’t much else to do, especially if you’d been educated in the local schools. Do you get the impression that I wasn’t heartbroken at leaving?

Still, in the summer it was (and I suppose remains) a scenic and pleasantly mellow region, and while it couldn’t hold a candle to what could be found in Florida, it still was a much better swimming and snorkeling area than where I am in North Carolina right now. And I’ve never done the locale justice, photographically, because I wasn’t too serious about photography when I left and have spent only brief, sporadic visits since then, never with the intent of just chasing pics – except for this particular morning.

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