Day 275. June 15, 7:30 PM
I’m starting the last of four seasons today, and it’s my birthday. Road markers, stone cairns on the passage of time.
Busy tonight, summer carnival crowd. An elderly couple has brought folding chairs, sitting at the guardrail with glasses of wine, like the people who gather at Key West to applaud the sunset. I went there twenty-two years ago, when I was pregnant with Maya. Sunrise, sunset.
On the stone bench, two young hippies with beards and tribal tattoos. One of them plays the recorder, softly and not very well. His buddy lolls, grinning the grin of the stoned.
A slender blonde and a larger brunette in a jaunty fedora cross the Lemon Squeeze hand in hand. As I get closer, I recognize Sarah Stitham with her partner Kate McGloughlin, an artists who paints the Ashokan again and again; her ancestors have lived in the Esopus Valley for twelve generations, and some lost their homes when the dam was built.
“Reservoiristas!” I greet them.
Beaming, Kate asks, “So are things being good to you?”
“Some yes and some no,” I answer a little too honestly.
Kate says, “We’re all in the same boat. Ars longa, vita brevis.” She throws out both arms, indicating the sky’s glowing mesh of clouds and crisscrossing contrails. “We’re millionaires, all of us. Millionaires!”
Yes, we are. And I’m sixty fucking years old.