A fly fisherman’s home stream could be many things…the river closest to where they live, the river they made their first cast in or caught their first fish in, their favorite river – someplace where they hold a special memory; a place they feel the most themselves. And people that grow up along any type of water seem to take on characteristics in their personality that only someone living right where they are could develop. Sometimes I feel like I can even guess what type of body of water a person grew up by if any at all just from one conversation.
I grew up on the Erie Canal….a true Western NY Canal Rat…. I’ve always said Medina has two seasons….when the canal is full and when the canal is empty. A lot of the stories from my childhood and into adulthood included a tale that took place near or on the canal. From swinging off of a rope into it for the first time, finding my friends Dads beer tied to a rope in the water to keep it cold, and getting drunk for the first time off of one can of beer. To memories of driving with my friends Dad and uncle in their old bronco…not knowing really how close we were to death, and having the time of our lives! Bridge jumping, catching crayfish, losing shoes in the mud of the spring just before the canal was filled for the summer. During the dark moments of my life I turned to the tow path to clear my head or to just get away with a walk or a run, moments alone with my high school sweetheart and afternoon adventures with childhood friends. There was not much about my childhood in Medina that did not revolve around the Erie Canal.
Now, the canal is right in my backyard, I’m on it most nights walking my dogs, watching sunset after sunset over the bridges that connect our community. Tonight I noticed that even though it was mostly empty, the water that was in it was still flowing, it was still alive, still moving…still making memories.
Even though I will always consider the Oak my home stream… the Erie Canal will always be my first love…my past and my present and always….my home.
This is my hometown