At the beginning of the summer I didn't have a substantial job lined up. These past couple of years of my life have been moving at a rate too fast for my liking. I was glad to be spending it at home where I could re-establish my roots and slow down. So when I received a call from John Matthews about possibly filling-in as caretaker of Sycamore Island, I couldn't think of a better opportunity.
Having grown up only two miles from here in Brookmont, I was able to visit the Island twice as a kid. Then, we swam and paddled. Years later I would pass by with my friends on the towpath, biking, swimming and swinging on the rope-swing. In those days I often wondered if the Island was any different than my memories. The looks and feel of the place hasn't changed much.
Being here for this past month has allowed me to meet many of the members. I can tell how much people love this Island, and everyone loves it in their own way. Some days it was difficult to adjust to the solitude here. Your smiles and thoughtfulness were appreciated. Just when things got too quiet, George Malusky arrived with a newspaper. Then there was Ann Kipp who arrived with doughnuts one morning and the Elfstrom family who frequently checked in. On a hot day, Gerry Barton kindly stood in so I could canoe away from the Island. Of course, Tryon kept me busy with several work projects. He rolled up his sleeves and joined me in the cleaning out of the workshed - a project that took longer than either of us expected (5 days).
Sycamore Island was a great place to reflect and relax. In the evenings I loved to venture down to water's edge and observe the motionless blue heron and have the minnows picking at my toes. Once the playful flight of another type of bird made me laugh and reminded me of a pontoon plane skimming across the surface of the water. My favorite place was the Captain's dock at sunset where I enjoyed putting my feet up and reflecting on the day. This image is one I will never forget. On my walks around the Island I took pleasure in discovering many more enjoyable spots, realizing there is always more to discover in this ever-changing environment.
I would hope one day that I can become a member of the Sycamore Island Club, that is, if I can ever get on the waiting list!
-- Drew Walsh, July 2002 Sycamore Island Caretaker