Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Green Lake - A Cherished Childhood Memory


It may be fair to assume that one does not live in the nicest part of town when your nearest nature area contains a 10 acre chemical dump. Such was the case in my idyllic childhood where, a few blocks from my house, a lake of caustic lime (sodium hydroxide) existed for many years- a by-product of an air-reduction plant manufacturing industrial gases for welding and other uses. We children were warned to stay away from the pond; with its eerie cyan-green hue and stifling odor, we didn't need to be warned twice. A lot of people threw old tires into it, after a while it looked as if it was a "tire farm" - tires of various sizes looking as if they were emerging from a primeval ooze. If there had been a lot of rain, the lake was big, if it had been dry, the lake bed was exposed- a gooey mess of chemistry, said to cause severe burns if left on the skin for any length of time. There were also pipes of super concentrated chemicals; they ran right into the river.

This is where we liked to play.

If you were careful, you could walk all around this pit on the firmer areas (wear boots just in case) somewhat similar to walking on another planet, or so we imagined. There were no fences, only a rusting warning sign. I sometimes think that no one had a lick of sense in those days. A photo of mine depicting this mess ended up on the front page of the local newspaper, a lot of tsk-tsking was done and the pit was eventually cleared, the lime used to treat fields that had become too acidic. Lord knows where the tires ended up. They built a freeway over the whole area, so now this place is completely obliterated.

A child can imagine his own paradise out of next to nothing, if he has to.

By Professor Batty


Blogger Móðir, kona, meyja said...

I'm thinking Erin Broncovich. Ew, ew, and double ew.

Blogger Sharon Spotbottom said...

That looks like a seething pond of sea serpents. eeeeeek.

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