Ford Street Bridge and Blue Sky on the Lower Genesee River
In a single day the temperatures rise and snow disappears. Wind carries the memory of winter in its biting chill, but the warmth of sun belies the seasonal shift. I spend an afternoon walking the Genesee River Trail around downtown Rochester. These riverbanks resound with the stories of historic upstate New York for me learned in school History lessons. Today it is known as a The Flower City. In its inception it was The Flour City due to the perfect drop of waterfall segments along the banks of downtown where they built the first flour mills, perfect for grinding and setting to market the rich fields of wheat on the adjacent farmland. They even built an aqueduct of the Erie Canal right through downtown to literally capitalize on the flour trade going upstate to the Great Lakes, west to Lake Erie, or east to Albany and the wealthy markets of New York City. We walk across the old bridges, the aqueduct empty and covered with colorful graffiti now. Canals outdone by trains and eventually trucks on the ever-increasingly savvy infrastructure. Mules and barges left for museums and empty aqueducts ghosting the old waterways and locks. I have a dream to buy a cabin on the Erie Canal one day. For this afternoon I walk the circuit of the River Trail from calm muddy banks, to roiling waterfall chases, amid ghosts of my childhood and the construction of middle America. Eventually a feeling of panic comes to me, sad to have this time with Sue coming to a close. As I walk these paths made familiar from childhood, I relax and realize that I am always walking in the sure shadows of fond memories shared with my best friend in this city that shaped our lives.