Sarah Wrote That

Adirondacks to New Jersey
March 17, 2008

Last photos with my Canon Powershot s60. I’d dropped it earlier on the trip and its colors got increasingly erratic before it stopped working, but its focus control remained wonderfully exact.

The lake was frozen shore to shore. Twenty miles south, the Mohawk River was to the top of its banks, blue and fast, its last ice already borne away.

March light. I am extraordinarily glad of it.

March light. I am extraordinarily glad of it.

Christmas red.
I’m feeling really lucky this year. I hope you are, too.

Christmas red.

I’m feeling really lucky this year. I hope you are, too.

Finding solace in watching ruby-throated hummers. Our neighbor’s maple provides an overhang between trips to the feeder, and in the downpour the male seems less concerned with defending his territory.

All the Summers Ahead - Part Five

My Five Chapters story concludes today:

The lawn projected a small green semi-circle into a dark audience of trees. Fireflies, moths, and the kids — Anders and Emma — played along its edges. Overhead a pair of bats darted across and under each other. Ellen sat on the patio steps, out of the smoke that poured from the grill when Marcus unlidded it. […]

This, somewhere like it, was where Ellen would have said she saw herself at this age, if anyone had asked ten or fifteen years before. Not because she wanted it. Because it was the horizon; New Jersey seen from the West Side. You could forget it because you knew it was there.

[Parts One, Two, Three, and Four]

D&R Canal and Lake Carnegie
Princeton, NJ

I’d run on the towpath between the two many times before remarking on the parallels and contrasts in their histories. The lake was excavated in 1905 as a site for Princeton University’s rowing team:

In 1903, a group of Princeton alumni began purchasing farmland that occupied areas of the projected basin. They, in turn, sold this land to Carnegie. This was done in order to avoid arousing the suspicions of local residents, and to allow Carnegie to purchase the land for the lowest possible price. By 1905, the needed land was purchased and the work of clearing the area and constructing the bridges and dam began.

The canal was excavated

mostly by hand tools, mostly by Irish immigrants. Work began in 1830 and was completed in 1834, at an estimated cost of $2,830,000. When the canal first opened, teams of mules were used to tow canal boats through it (the steam engine was not yet applied to such uses). The canal’s greatest usage occurred during the 1860s and 1870s, when it was used primarily to transport coal from Pennsylvania to New York City…

Barnegat Bay

I have a story in The Good Men Project’s Weekend Fiction section. I’m really thrilled about this one—I think it’s the fullest exploration I’ve yet written of a marriage, an in particular of the husband. Also: New Jersey!

When my husband, Dilshad, was hired as a partner by a small firm in Princeton, New Jersey, we—or, rather, I—decided the train back and forth from the city was too much to ask of him for the sake of friends we now would rarely see, or the playground in Central Park. He was working, so I did most of our house-hunt. Plus, he said, I’d grown up outside Philadelphia, and knew the area.

“You should look her up,” he said. “That friend, Kim.”

“Kimberly,” I said. “How do you know she’s still here?”

I was surprised he’d asked. He knew the story: when Kimberly—my best friend in elementary school—and I were 12, her mother had let their Newfoundland mix and German shorthaired pointer outside for air. The dogs came into our garage, where my father had made a bed of newspapers for a tabby I had found in our side yard. I had named the tabby Charley. The Newfoundland carried Charley, what was left of him, or her, home to Kimberly’s mother.

Read On →