Unfurled

The trip from my home to the neighboring State of Vermont takes me across the northernmost part of New York – an “upstate” so far north that its existence is completely unknown to people who aren’t native to the area. It’s a place whose natives speak with the hint of a Canadian accent.

Much of the way I drive a road called The Old Military Turnpike, following (in reverse) the route taken by some of my ancestors exactly two hundred years ago. I pass the stone ruins of Robinson’s Tavern, a stopping point built shortly after the War of 1812, and eventually catch a glimpse of Lake Champlain in the distance, the mountains of Vermont rising beyond it.

About a hundred miles from home, I drive aboard the Lake Champlain Ferry and turn the ingition off. For the next fifteen minutes I’ll enjoy the sun and wind, note the absence of the dozens of white-sailed boats dotting the lake during the summer months, and reflect that soon my crossings will involve stinging cold winds and the breaking of ice. I resolve to photograph one of the boat’s flags, using it to frame a long view down the lake, but no matter how I try, the flag and the lake just won’t cooperate. I climb the stairs to the upper deck and walk toward the stern, and as the rear flag comes into view, I see a crew member removing it from its pole!

I mutter a discouraging word. The one thing I wanted to photograph, and this guy takes it down! But wait… As I descend the aft stairs, he unfurls a brand new flag and fastens it securely to the flagpole. Frame, focus, click. The warm wind blows my hair around and I slip my camera back in the case. It wasn’t the picture I had in mind, but it’s a good day on the ferry.

Remembering My Mother


There she is: the redhead in white in the middle of the fun. Behind her, in the white cap, is my father. This was a newspaper photo from the 1930s when she was Rochester, NY, city speed-skating champ and he was the city’s men’s tennis champion.

And here is a poem written by a friend:

A wish

May we all find our
way to our mothers
today, or some day.
May we find
the mothers
we miss,
the mothers we wish we had,
and the grandmothers of our
mothers,
where the love waits
unconditionally.
And may we be wise enough
to say thank you for the gifts
they were able to give.

Written by Becky Harblin,  May 13, 2007, used by permission.