Clouds rolling in,
Breeze picking up;
I can smell the rain, but the birds are still singing.
I am on day two of Teacher’s Write!, a 6 week online writing workshop. Today’s prompt was a quick write: walk 100 steps in the direction of your choice, stop and write about where you are, what you see, hear, smell and feel. Unfortunately, a storm is rolling in. The kind you can hear a long way off as it rumbles towards you, the breeze bringing the smell of rain. Sitting on the porch, I have the best vantage point. Weather maps say it will come from the west, straight across the lake. I hope the rain comes like a wall across the water; when you can see exactly where it is raining and where it isn’t.
If I could walk from here, I would direct my 100 steps towards Sherman’s. The once busy arcade, carousel, and Ferris wheel from fifteen years ago; go back further and there were other rides too, kiddie roller coasters, bumper cars. Now? I would see rusted metal, peeling paint, broken glass, evidence of a bygone era, a time when business thrived, though never really boomed; the summer months at least were good. I would hear geese squawking, traffic buzzing down 29A - but no one stopping. Maybe a loon would make a haunting call to its mate.
Sometimes I wonder how much I actually see of this place and how much is just memory. Are the carousel horses still there? Gathering dust, wood rotting, growing mold in the dampness. If I could take the 100 steps, I could peer in the stain glass windows and see for my self. Or would I just see it as I remember? The creaking wood, squeaking gears, deranged music playing over and over, $1 per ride, the smell of popcorn and ice cream from the concession.
I remember riding the Ferris wheel. Rising high, higher above the pavement, looking out over the lake, stopping, reversing directions, moving backwards, faster and faster.
I remember the lights, on the Ferris wheel and the carousel, old, bare bulbs blinking on and off.
I remember feeling the wind off the water. Canoeing from our beach to the dock at Sherman’s instead of walking, just because we could.
I remember saving my dollars in the months leading up to vacation just so I could ride the carousel and Ferris wheel as many times as I wanted.
I remember which horse was my favorite. A white one with flowing mane and tale, teal saddle.
I remember the year I saved my money, but it was closed.
Now it is empty. Boarded up against thieves and weather. It didn’t make enough money. But now there are no memories to make either.
The thunder is a constant rumble now. It hasn’t stopped for several minutes. This storm is going to be a doozy.