I used to live in the middle. It was a geographic oddity: 20 minutes from everywhere. Now I live on the edge which is 20 minutes from ... more edge. I didn't think it made much of a difference, but I recently discovered how a person experiences this region I call a Slice of Heaven on Earth very much depends on whether you are a middle-dweller, or an edge-liver.
One of the differences has to do with Sohoe being part of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The canal has 8 locks for shipping traffic and 8 lift bridges for road traffic. When going about your day in the middle, you become accustomed to seeing very large vessels travelling next to you, and you learn pretty quickly to either check bridge status (is it up? Do I have to find a way around? Where is the way around? Rats, I should have brought snacks.) It's cool to see this tangible evidence of how our small and relatively out-of-the-way neck of the woods is connected to the rest of the country. Not only that, but is a vital link in the well-being of the rest of the country.
Living on the edge, however, I may see the big boats out on the lake but other than lending picturesque interest to the scenery, they have no impact on how I go about my day.
Then last week I decided to visit Historic Town and chose a meandering route (we pronounce it 'root', not 'rout') that took me into the interior. What a shock to discover the waterway was dry! And being dry, I could see that the canal is actually quite shallow. It was almost disappointing: here I'd been imagining the ships (boats? lakers?) with massive hulls reaching deep, deep, deep into the water. Instead it looked almost like a tall person with a scuba mask would be able to walk across the canal bed and still be able to breathe. (Perhaps a leetle beet of dramatic license here)
I got to imagining all sorts of calamities that could lead to an emergency emptying of the canal - and as I drove further it turned out to include each of the locks as well. How had I missed hearing of this massive drought? No, surely not... a water leak, maybe? Collision! There'd been a collision which resulted in catastrophic spillage of something environmentally frightening! But how could I not have known this devastating thing happened? Ought we to call Bruce Willis to save us?
As I paid more attention I began to notice construction crews decked in day-glow safety outfits swarming over the structures. If there had been a noxious spill of some sort, surely hazmat suits would be the uniform of the day? A niggling thought began to grow that this wasn't a dramatic event at all. And sure enough once I got home and did an internet search it turned out what I witnessed was regularly scheduled maintenance work coinciding with the annual winter shutdown of the canal.
Rats. We don't need Bruce Willis for that.