By Bud Lemire
As I came to the entrance of Aronson Island, I found it hard to believe that it has been 40 years since I was here. But looking at it, I see the weather has changed it to some degree. Just like it changed the Sand Island over the years before it. I guess time doesn't stand still, even when you are frozen in time. It made me realize how precious the time you have is. So many people wasting their time doing meaningless things, when they should be using it as quality time.
As I rode the bike trail, I could hear the birds singing. I even saw some butterflies pass by. The grass was quite tall, but I am sure I saw a squirrel watching me as I rode along. It made a path in the tall grass, and most likely wanted to get away.
I looked at the Boat Launch, and just as I thought, no boats anywhere in sight. I guess Covid got everyone. Then I heard the yellow warbler, and saw it. I talked to it, and it came down closer to me. “Mr Warbler, looks like there are not many people left here. I know you were probably wondering where they all went.” I didn't understand what he said, but I'm sure he was happy to see someone. Most likely he hasn't seen anyone in a very long time. My heart felt very happy to have seen him and had this visit.
The lilac was in bloom and was smelling very nice. Looks like some more swallows have made a nest nearby. I took the time to smell the Lilacs very close. I wanted to go out to the end before turning back. As I got closer to the end, I could see the tree at the very end looked different. Two of the branches were gone. I am sure weather must have done that. Maybe got hit by lightning, or just old age had weakened its limbs. It looked like someone sitting down there. It could be my imagination, just hoping to see someone can do that. As I got closer, they stayed there, not moving. Looks like a woman, with dark brown hair.
I didn't want to scare her, so I cleared my throat. She turned around and smiled. She got up and came towards me. Then she stopped and looked around. “I've not seen you out here before, and I come out here every day.”
I smiled at the thought that prior to forty years ago, I use to come out here as often as I could. I told her exactly that, and told her I would take many pictures on a nice summer day like this. “By the way, I'm Bud, and what is your name?” She looked to be in her forties, most likely just a child when I was frozen in time.
“Call me Cassie, and I am alone, my parents and my baby brother Timmy passed from that nasty Covid.”
“I know,” I said. She smiled and asked if I knew them. “No, I replied, “I didn't know them, but I knew that Covid took many people. The virus kept mutating because many were against the vaccine, and it kept getting stronger.”
She had a thoughtful expression and then said “It's stupid, people fighting people when they should have been fighting the virus together.” Then she smiled, and I could have sworn she was the most beautiful Butterfly I've ever seen.
I said “yes, people can be stupid and stubborn.”
“You know, Bud, their deaths won over Covid, but now they are not here to enjoy it.” I never thought about it that way, but she's right. I guess without people, everyone is automatically social distancing.
I asked Cassie if she lived around here, and she said she lives down 1st Avenue South. I told her I lived at the Harbor Tower.
She made a frown and said “I didn't think anyone lived there. I was by there a few years ago, and nobody was there.”
I told her forty years ago, many people lived there, and I knew many of them.” I didn't realize how sad I was, and that a tear had fallen.
Then I felt her finger touching my face. “Don't worry Bud, I'll be your friend.” I was lost for words, but when I found them, I thanked her for saying that.
“You can never have too many friends in his world today, because there aren't many people,” Cassie said as she smiled. I laughed, because she was right. How can you have many friends without many people.
“Bud, how come I never seen you here before? Why did you stop coming here if you enjoyed it so much?”
“Well, I guess I better tell you the truth, forty years ago I was frozen in some sort of Medical place, and I recently thawed out. I guess they were preserving me like Jam” I said as I thought about how jam would be preserved.
She smiled and said she loved Strawberry jam. I told her I liked Apricot jam better. She made a face of disgust. Oh well, everyone has their own tastes.
“Cassie, did you see the man in the Hammock in the park?” I asked her.
Oh yes,” She laughed “Mr Whistletree.” I asked if that was his real name. She said it was because when he slept his nose would whistle and the birds in the tree would answer.” I laughed so hard.
“Cassie, I'm getting hungry, so I am going home, to get something to eat. Can we meet here again sometime?” I asked.
She smiled and said “Bud, I am here every afternoon, I'd love to talk with you some more.” She gave me a hug before I left, and I almost didn't want to go after finding a kindred soul here on the Island. As I walked away, I thought maybe we can go exploring the city to see if anyone else survived.