Vignettes of Poughkeepsie: Quiet Cove, Monday, September 4, 6:30 p.m.
The rocks beneath my car tires grumble and scrape as I make a sharp turn from Route 9 onto a nearly hidden dirt road. I slowly navigate through the narrow trail and am cautious as I drive through the underpass. Above me, a train rumbles past and I wonder how this little crumbling concrete tunnel can hold it.
The parking lot is awkward; it’s difficult to figure out where to park and I settle on a spot that’s not quite in line with the two cars next me. Upon getting out of my car, I already regret wearing flip-flops as the dirt and rocks have immediately crept between my toes and the rubber.
My slight discomfort is quickly forgotten when I remember the Adirondack chairs on the porch of a vacant, but kept-up white house, which I’ve learned was formerly the boathouse to the Navy’s rowing team. One day, I’ll have to remember to research what it’s still used for, if anything.
I make my way up the ramp that wraps around from the back to the front of the house. I plop myself in an Adirondack chair and enjoy the whooshing sound of the water crashing into the rocks below me.
A couple is off to my left underneath where the trees glow as the dimmed sunlight beams through the gaps between the mostly green leaves. They are using one of the rusted grills at the park, shooing their Beagle away as he begs for a hot dog.
Another couple is walking over and they wave to those barbecuing. The woman is holding an insulated bag and the man carries a small cooler. They all greet each other, the men patting each other on the back and the women hugging. The dog jumps up on one of the women and she pets him. His tail wags furiously.
Out on the look-out dock slightly to the left of where I’m sitting rests several people. An older man and a young boy are sitting in some of the Adirondack chairs, relaxing with fishing poles in their hands and lines in the water, waiting for a bite.
The man points out into the water and back at the pole. He seems to be showing the boy that when the line tightens, to slowly being turning the handle and reeling in the fish. “Not too hard, though,” I can hear him say, “You don’t want to scare ’em off.” The boy listens and tightly grasps the fishing pole.
Behind the pair is another family: a mother with her two daughters. The mother sits in one of the chairs, taking in the breathtaking views of the Hudson Valley; the way the water glistens in the falling sun.
The daughters are in matching floral sundresses with their wispy brown hair weaved into French braids. One of them looks over the handrail and down into the water while the second one looks down through the rungs of the barrier. They’re both pointing to the water and the smaller girl jumps up and down. “A Fiss!” she exclaims. Her sister corrects her. “A fish.”
On a beautiful Labor Day weekend, Quiet Cove is anything but quiet.