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The Causeway To The Island

The 1975 monsoon season in my home state of Bihar was devastating. It went on and on, relentlessly lashing us with unceasing rains. The run-off from the snow-capped mountains of Nepal into rivers that cradle this area added to our misery. The river Ganga ran over its embankment and water surged through our town with cosmic force.

My parents moved us to the rooftop when the deluge entered our home.

To keep me from walking off the edge of the roof at night, my mother tied her sari to my pajama. Our older cousins traveled in boats to bring us supplies. Our vantage gave us clarity to guide the boats away from concrete posts and walls.

You'd think this would be traumatic but it was not. It was like living in the stories we had read. There were no rules. We ate picnic style. We slept under the stars. We listened to news on a radio with dials. I don't remember the weather being terrible once we got to the roof.

Ever since we fled to the roof, I've had a recurring dream - we are driving on a causeway from the shore to an island and water rushes on the road from both sides and blocks our path; we retreat back to the mainland before the road is engulfed by the raging waters.

Last weekend, 1975 unexpectedly intersected with the present. We drove on a narrow and two-lane road, called the Andrews Causeway, connecting Falmouth to Mackworth Island in Maine. The road was flanked by open oceans on both sides.

"This causeway and I are old friends," I exclaimed to Tarun, while wondering if the ocean could suddenly rise to cover the road!

On the far end of the causeway, we parked our car and set off on a hike around the island. Tarun used the sun to keep us oriented (he's the dude to have around when cell signal wigs out). Halfway on the trail we saw signs to a pet cemetery, the one that inspired Stephen King's "Pet Semetary". YIKES!

Elsewhere on the trail...

The trees on Mackworth were so tall they dwarfed me near their gnarly roots.

The Atlantic was framed by trees, branches drooping to kiss the weeds lashing below in the water.

Fantastically twisted tree limbs reminded me of the contours of life with a cocktail of thrills, anxiety, and peace.

As I watched the sailboats in a distance, I marveled at the skill it takes to navigate it by design instead of blowing in the wind uncontrollably.

The trail had a floor of pine needles so thick, I could barely see the ground.

Driving on the Andrews Causeway to Mackworth Island will remain close to my heart for a very long time. It's where my memories met reality for an elegant dance on a glorious fall day. Perhaps now the causeway will no longer flood in my dreams!



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