"This summer I went swimming, this summer I might have drowned / But I held my breath and I kicked my feet and I moved my arms around / Moved my arms around." - Loudon Wainwright III
My friend Tom Zetterstrom lives in a small, neat home on the verge of a deep hole. It was once a marble quarry, deep in the north face of Rattlesnake Hill, and now it is a swimming hole and skating pond depending on the season. I once described Tom as near 60 and not a day over 14. He is a great, bounding puppy of a man and likes nothing better than inviting everyone he knows - and he knows just about everyone - for an afternoon down at the quarry.
I went over today with black clouds looming on the horizon but found a good-sized crew down by the changing house and the huge floating rafts made of planks and massive logs dropped over the side and moved lumberjack fashion to their semi-permanent moorings by the bank. There were kayaks and an old metal dinghy which Tom rowed over to the one side of the quarry that is level with the rest of the terrain to fetch an old friend and his wheelchair that would not otherwise have been able to negotiate the switchbacks down from the rim. There was a rope swing - what quarry would be complete without one - and if you were short a towel of swimming trunks, no matter: there are plenty to spare. people brought food, and children, and as some said good-bye there were new arrivals cycling in.
Tom likes to take his first swim before the ice is out, and he likes to skate until practically the same time. He has late season raspberries and welcomes any who wish to pick some to take home. He is a gifted photographer with an eye for the souls of trees. He is irrepressible, like a puppy that keeps bringing back the stick for you to throw, and once was so engrossed in taking a photograph of an Elm Tree that he neglected to put his car in park and it ended up crashing into another one. He is generous beyond measure. He grew up in this community, lives in the house and on land that was once his parents. He is, in fact, a community character, and a dear friend.
At Tom's quarry today I floated on my back above the dark water, watching the wind shake the trees before the approaching rain.