Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy Equinox

Waterford, NY

Somehow, the elements conspired to make Thursday, the equinox, the nicest day of the year.

As we went to bed the night before, the evening temperature was balmy and the winds still. I left the hatches open and was rewarded by being lulled to sleep by the sound of crickets and frogs. I hadn't realized until now how much I miss the sounds of the night in the northeast. We spend too much time bottled up in the boat in fear of chill and evening mosquitoes. Also, too often we are anchored out away from shore, and the sounds of wind and water drown out the normal sounds.

At 0600 I looked out and the entire sky was a soft rosy pink. How charming. For reasons I can't explain, pretty sunrises seem to be many fewer than pretty sunsets.

At 0700 we started moving down the Hudson. The weather was perfect. Just warm enough, sunny, and zero wind. For punctuation, we admired the beautiful fall colors that seem to be coming out rapidly now; somewhat ahead of schedule.

We didn't have far to go Thursday, so we were in no hurry. By 1300 we arrived at Waterford, and it seemed sad to stop. But the day was hardly over.

Our Kiwi friends, John, Mary Ann, Nick and Annette, came by. Libby went with Mary Ann, Nick and Annete over to The Clark Museum in Williamstown, Massachusetts. There, they got to admire classic art that just doesn't get to New Zealand. They also got to travel Route 2 through the valleys that offer the best of the best fall colors in the Northeast. They were rewarded with beautiful views.

In the evening, John and I walked up to Erie Lock 2. It appeared that they were flushing it with a whole lot of water. We talked to the lock master and were treated with an explanation (they were draining lock 5 for maintenance) and a discussion of the mechanisms, equipment, and operating procedures for the locks. We as engineers, and the lock master, eager to explain his knowledge and art, communed perfectly.

John demonstrated his outstanding knowledge of engineering by instantly identifying the motor that operates the lock valves. It is a GE traction motor, circa 1908 that was adapted from trolley car duty. Exactly right.

Then we all got together and shared pizza sitting on the plaza of the Waterford Visitors Center as the sun set. The weather remained balmy, perfectly comfortable in shirt sleeves. The jumping fish and passing geese helped establish the ambiance of this perfect day.

I hereby resolve, to do more to enjoy the nighttime sights and sounds of the places we visit in the coming year.

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