I’ve just concluded a Champlain Area Trails (CATS) board meeting on a high note. Or, to be more precise, a fellow board member finished the meeting on a high note by handing me this handsome painting of our boathouse during drier times.
Bill Amadon – Essex based master gardener, trail builder and painter – has created several other romantic images that adorn Rosslyn’s walls, but the timing for this image couldn’t have better. After a difficult week of record-breaking Lake Champlain water levels flooding Rosslyn’s boathouse, Amadon’s painting reminds us of the structure’s past and future. Soggy today, this weather-worn icon will endure long into the future.
Today I noticed Amadon photographing the flooded boathouse before our meeting. I wonder if he’ll memorialize the flood with another beautiful painting. And if so, hopefully we’ll be able to look back on the history making floods of 2011 with nostalgia. But for now, we’re still struggling to get through the high water risks. This morning my bride and Doug Decker, the carpenter-turned-jack-of-all-trades-handyman who caretakes Rosslyn removed about 2,000 pounds of waterlogged driftwood, tree trunks and miscellaneous debris floating from our waterfront.
As we pack our bags for four days in the Utah desert, our feelings have been mixed. On the one hand, we welcome the escape from rain and flooding. On the other, we depart with heavy hearts, anxious with the knowledge that we won’t be here to intervene if the wind picks up and the waves begin to batter the submerged boathouse and shoreline. A 40-50 foot tree with a trunk almost 18″ thick lurks just south of the boathouse, too heavy and too entangled in shoreline brush to be removed. Heavy winds out of the south could dislodge the tree and heave it repeatedly against the boathouse. The damage would be grave. Or a heavy wind out of the east could further erode the banks that are already badly undermined and failing. Large trees are at risk of collapsing into the lake, and the pavement of Route 22 which runs above the bank is already cracking as the lakeside begins to collapse.
These are the worries. These are the anxieties. And yet we are leaving. Our trip had been scheduled long before the floods, and we’re unable to change or cancel them. And so we throw ourselves upon the mercy of nature and our friends to preserve our property. Doug will spend the days until we return on Monday evening working upstairs in the boathouse, finishing trim woodwork and oiling the fir beadboard. He’ll be able to keep a close watch on the wind and waves and debris. If circumstances threaten, he will attempt to remedy the problem by redirecting or removing logs. Or by resecuring materials that are loosened by the waves. If conditions worsen further, several friends have offered to come and help out. In short, our friends and neighbors are lending a hand. So we can depart tomorrow morning confident that those who care about us, those who care about the boathouse and property will intervene if needed.
Amadon’s painting provided just the confidence boost I needed to board the plane, a memory rekindled for what the boathouse looked like in the past and what it will hopefully look like again this summer. Thanks to all who’ve helped us through this experience!