The Forgotten Portal

Because of moving around to different churches, I never really understood the idea of “hometown” very well. You’re supposed to know everyone, the best time of day for fresh bread from So&So Bakery, etc. The closest thing I had to a hometown was Watertown. My mother’s parents and sister lived here.  I went to boarding school here. It was the one constant place in my young life.

These pictures are from an island park a few blocks from my grandparents’ place and another few blocks from the school. My grandfather took my brother and me down the hill in that old blue Buick to feed the ducks along the gravel shore for years. Sometimes, if he had the energy, we’d cross the bridge and walk around the island.

I always saw the old railroad bridge as a sort of portal: if I crossed it at the right time on the right day, I’d cross over into Elsewhere. I was always a little disappointed when that didn’t happen.

The island is very small; 5 minutes and you’re on the other side, near the mill. I have no clue if the mill is used at all–doesn’t look like it. Grandpa would warn me every time to stay off that wall, but I’d hop on anyway, certain I just needed to go a little further to complete the crossing.

I was rather keen to escape life from little on, I guess.

Perhaps you have such a place in your childhood, someplace where the world gives way to another. Seek it out. Capture it, if you can.

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