February 7, 2006
Another perfect day in paradise. It snowed in the morning, then cleared up and gleamed in the sunlight. After lunch, I walked with a friend, Holly, to the spring. Not exactly sure where to find it, we set out, hoping it would not be too far. The local elementary school overlooks aptly named School Road. An old-fashioned-looking, red clapboard schoolhouse abuts a newer, off-white clapboard school.
As we walked down School Road – on the shoulder, no sidewalks – we passed College Road, which goes steeply uphill to Johnson State College. I have not visited there yet, but several of my acquaintances have used the gym and the library. Not far past the school, we found the spring. It consists of a black hose, emerging from a hillside buttressed with cinderblocks, which runs into a beat up tin pail with a hole in the bottom. The pail drains onto the shoulder of the road right next to the driveway of the spring owner's house. The driveway is very steep.
Mother Nature, who never takes a day off, operates the spring and so the ground around it is clear of snow and soggy. Holly and I each stepped up to the spring in turn and filled our water bottles. I took a quick taste of the water before capping my bottle. Delicious. It tasted sparkling clean, like a cold day, as bright in my mouth as a slice of lemon.
I carried with me a small water bottle from my plane ride here. I will have to go buy a larger bottle so I can get a more ample supply of spring water on my next trip. Holly suggested that we could walk to the spring every day, but I would prefer to have a reserve in case I miss a day.
After we got our water, we went on to the covered bride. Again, we did not know exactly where it was, just that it was up School Road. In fact, as soon as we rounded the bend near the spring, we saw the bridge. For New Englanders, it is probably a run-of-the-mill covered bridge, but I found it charming. There is only one lane, and cars must wait for the oncoming traffic to clear before using it. Not that traffic seemed to be a problem. Along each side, there is a pedestrian walkway, carefully separated from the driving lane by timbers.
The bridge also has large, open windows, but they were too tall for me to look down. I did have a lovely view of the sky. Below the bridge is the Gihon River, the same one that runs along side VSC’s Red Mill, which is our dining room. The river bends just below the bridge. Above it are a series of fast rapids that run alongside a red clapboard structure. With the bridge named “Power House Bridge,” it seems likely that the red building is the powerhouse. There are rapids immediately in front of the powerhouse. Perhaps it is generating power from the river.
Graffiti across an inside wall of the bridge is all that detracted from the lovely view. After admiring the bridge and taking pictures of each other, Holly and I walked back. Once we rounded the bend near the spring, we could see the school and our houses at the end of the road. School House Road dead ends there; it was an easy walk back home.
When I am not going walkabout in the snow, I am working hard. This is a thrilling opportunity to concentrate on my writing. Perhaps I’ll discuss that tomorrow - perhaps not. There is so much to feed the imagination here.