Wednesday, June 1, 2011
A Hot Day in Cold Spring
Over Memorial Day some friends invited us up to their place near Cold Spring. We were excited to go, but we also dreaded the thought of the traffic, heading home after the long weekend. Since Larry and I are on a "staycation," it seems as if we could do what we wanted and we both came to the same conclusion at the same time. "Let's spend the night in Cold Spring," Larry suggested, just as I was about to say exactly the same thing.
That's the way it is with couples some time, isn't it? You know one another. Yu know what you both like. And we knew we didn't need to rush back and we didn't want to spend four hours, honking our horn.
There's a hotel right on the Hudson, the Hudson House. The reviews we read weren't so great, but we'd seen that hotel many times and it's right on the water, above a little park. We'd have this little canon to look down on and lots of revolutionary war history. George Washington stopped here for a drink and liked the water. Hence the name, Cold Spring.
So we had a delightful day with our friends, then went to our hotel. It turned out, as it often seems to happen with us (because we tend to go again the flow) that we were the only guests. It was a little spooky, I must admit. Returning from some burger place, the Depot, on the MetroNorth train line, and I loved to see the trains, packed, heading back to the city. And those other sort of mournful trains, heading out.
We walked back under a viaduct and went and stood by the river. Above us a flagpole banged in the wind. Across the river a long freight train, lit only by the headlights of its engine, snaked along the river's edge. A strange and haunting site. Then we returned to the hotel where we were the only guests. Perfect place for a crime, it seemed to me.
I teased Larry a bit about ghosts (I have a way of staring into space that frightens him). I told him that the hotel had a ghost (I made up some grim story) and if he heard a knock in the night, not to open the door. Then I did some silly knocking antics while he was brushing his teeth.
We slept in the lumpy bed. In the morning we were up and had a lovely breakfast on the porch. And it was then that I envisioned another ghost. That of Kate, circa 1998. We had come to Cold Spring to hang out for a day and Kate had lain on the rocks, reading a book, right across from where we were sitting. So I took out my watercolors and painted this image of her. It is actually my first, and perhaps only, image of a human figure.
I missed my daughter. Not the daughter who lives in DC, works as press liaison for a great not-for-profit, has a terrific chef boyfriend, and cantankerous hound. Not that daughter of whom I am very proud. I missed the one who was little once. Who lay in the crevice of two rocks to read on a lazy afternoon in another life, it almost seems. And I had a strong feeling that that little girl still haunted this place.
It was Memorial Day weekend, after all. A time ripe for remembering.
After breakfast we went down to a local spot on the Hudson. A beach just half a mile out of town and a short walk over a railroad bridge. On our walk Larry and I found a dead butterfly with blue wings, the pod, I think, of a poplar tree. I kept them.
Just before leaving, I swam in the Hudson as another freight train was passing across the way. The water was clear and cold. Later I mentioned this to a friend who lives in Cold Spring. "You swam in the Hudson?" he said. Apparently nobody who knows better does that. But I'd do it again in a heartbeat.