Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Riverside discovery

Today was spent in Freeport, shopping. Nothing too exciting to write about there.

But when we returned to Whitefield, Casey and I took a walk down through the woods to the river. I hadn't been in a long time -- five, six years maybe -- when the stroll used to be a near-daily occurrence on my annual family trips. Fishing, swimming, tubing or (in late spring when the flow is still high enough) canoeing. I thought about taking a dip, but it was already six o'clock and I wanted to take a quick visit, then come back and pop open a beer and sit around chatting until dinner.

When we got there, we stepped down the bank to the riverbed, the two or three feet of rocks on the shore between the water and the 5-, 6-foot high "bluff." We watched toads hop into the tall grass and looked up and down the river as the afternoon light shone on the trees on the opposite bank. I scouted out a few flat stones and skipped them across the surface, trying to get the perfect trajectory and speed to skip one clear across (couldn't do it in the half-dozen throws today, and I'm not sure it's ever been done).

At one point while looking for a good, flat stone, I looked a little higher than my feet, at a spot on the little bluff maybe even with my thighs. What appeared to be a rather uniformly round rock, nestled under a slightly eroded overhang, caught my eye. I then noticed that one end of it was really flat, so I reached for it and immediately upon grasping it felt its weight. That's when I realized it was manmade, an iron weight of some sort. At its top -- the flat side was the bottom -- a hoop is attached, perhaps the last link in what had been a chain. It could very well be an old anchor, a weight to keep a canoe in place on the river. It may have been used for something else.

I took a few pictures and showed them to my uncle when we got back to the house. He was intrigued and told me of an iron ring hammered into a rock a little bit up the river. He wondered if the ring in the rock had once been part of a log dam or perhaps even a suspended footbridge. Perhaps this weight was related. He asked if it might have been uncovered by the erosion of the bank by the river. I was too unsure to answer yes, but not convinced either could be discounted, either. I told him I'd only moved it a few inches and stood it upright; otherwise, it was in nearly the same place I had found it. I'm sure he'll be looking for it the next time he's down there.

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