Friday, March 30, 2012

The View From Up Here

The Fox Hill Tower or War Memorial Tower in Henry Park in Rockville, which is in Vernon, (oh, Connecticut, did you ever stop to think how this kind of thing must confuse outsiders?) is not my favorite tower in the state. That honor would have to go to the one atop Haystack Mountain in Norfolk - which to my surprise I've never posted a better picture of - because it's just more bizarre. There's really no good reason for a tower to be up at the top of that mountain, yet there it is, and it's awesome. But luckily I don't have a favorite tower, because that would be silly. This tower is also very attractive, and worth stopping at if you happen to be in Rockville for other reasons, as I did. It's also an excellent choice for the terminally lazy, because you can drive right up to it.

And then you can walk a few feet from your car along a very nice stone floor. Seriously, isn't it nice?

The tower was built in 1939 in honor of "all of our soldiers and sailors in all of our Wars." It replaced an 1878 tower which was built of wood and blew away in a blizzard, which itself replaced a long-ago watchtower of the Podunks.

And this is why everyone has wanted to build a tower up here. You can see practically all of Rockville - heck, you can see Massachusetts when it's nice out. Which it was not the day I was here; it was grey, and it rained. But the view was beautiful nonetheless. Rockville on the ground is a mixture, as many Connecticut towns are, of picturesque and drab, of impressive old buildings and ugly new stretches of main road, of future promise and former glory. But Rockville from the hilltop is a fantasy, a painting, an imagined place no real town could live up to.

So when I was walking around the tower, circling the base where it's partially protected by columns of stone, I thought about writing. There's almost nothing more boring than writers writing about writing (gack) but I'll only do it this once.

I read a blog post recently by a (quite successful) (quite young) freelance writer, about how she realized too late that what she really wanted to do was not write, but take photographs. This person's life, at least the part artfully captured by little pixels, is pretty much perfect, so I'm sure if she really wanted to give up writing in favor of professional photography, she could. But for whatever reason (I'm sorry I can't say, I tend to want to stab young successful people with perfect lives and therefore didn't finish reading the blog post) she didn't.

At the time I just rolled my eyes so hard they momentarily got stuck up in my head. But here on the hill at the tower, faced with three panels honoring different branches of the service and the American values they all fight for, I saw her point. I could write, of course, of hopes that democracy can hold on when threatened by the tatters of age, and that justice will prevail, though it may sometimes be difficult to make out. I could spell out with useless words that freedom is sometimes scratched with the selfish interpretations of people who only want to leave their scribbled mark, but that it was carved in deeper, and can withstand the affront. But I could also just take pictures that would say the same thing. How much easier that would be.

I cannot do that though. I have too many words that would demand to be used, and not enough patience for light and shadow and waiting for the passing of the rain.

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