Ode to Maple Lake*
It was because of that lake that we bought the
house in Wyckoff. On hot summer nights, we’d flee the concrete
of Paterson, climbing Lafayette Avenue in our old La Salle.
There were canopied green streets with no sidewalks or traffic lights.
There was a sunny, grey- blond woman who waved us down the dirt road
to our Illyrian spring.
I had gone back to Maple Lake to show my son the dock where
I hurled myself into my father’s arms and the rock where the turtles sunned and the hot dog stand just up the steep embankment.
But the sunny lady wasn’t there, the dirt road had disappeared, and I
could only just insist that a small lake and a dock and a hot dog stand had once really been there.
*”We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” T. S. Eliot
Note: Maple Lake, referred to as “the mud hole” by more upscale Wyckoff residents who frequented “Spring Lake”, was, nevertheless, the “navel” of my childhood, the place where my passion for swimming began, and the only place where I remember “playing” with my father. ..sadly, some years back the Army Corps of Engineers deemed the dam unsafe and it was “condemned” (to become completely abandoned and overgrown). Now, thanks to Google, I see it’s for sale…if I only had a few million!