At just past 8 AM on a Sunday morning, I pulled into the parking lot of Thunder Bridge beach. Two men stood at the bridge, one at the upriver side the other downriver. The fast moving water witnessed in the spring is a thing of the past. Now the water seems almost motionless, the easy flow hidden beneath a glassy surface.
Crossing over to the upriver side of the bridge, I called my greetings to the two familiar faces: Fran Masse and Pike Messenger. Life-time Middleton residents, they have both been showing their local pride for years, only one example of which is the amazing organization they are both key members of, the Middleton Stream Team. As has been said many times (but can’t be said enough) Stream Teams are fantastic. Not only at supporting the river, but in joining people in communities together and connecting them to areas of natural beauty in their towns. Fran and Pike’s dedication to the watershed doesn’t end with the Stream Team: they are both volunteers in our RiverWatch Program. Thunder Bridge is their testing site.
While they completed their dissolved oxygen test, I asked after the depth of the river. Water level is a usual concern in August. By late summer, the river has been stressed by a steep rise in withdrawals. This year, Pike reported, the depth is at 6’. High for this time of year and a welcome change after last summer’s devastating drought.
The water level at Thunder Bridge is of particular interest this August. Over the month, I’ll be checking it regularly, watching to see how much room opens up between the bridge and the water’s surface. Not because of any worry about boat passage, but because, on August 24th, dancers Danielle DiVito and Tabitha Rodger will be suspend there while performing a beautiful aerial dance.
The Ipswich Moving Company performed a similar dance last fall at the Green Street Bridge in Ipswich. There, the arches of the bridge required each dancer to remain in her own space. During the Thunder Bridge performance, the dancers will be able to interact.
The performance is part of several events celebrating our organization’s 40th anniversary. It is open to the public with free admission. While the dance begins at 6:30 pm, attendees are advised to arrive at 6 pm. General parking for the performance will be at Rubchinuk Park, just a little ways down East Street from Thunder Bridge.
We’ll be keeping an eye on the water level and hoping you can attend this wonderful performance!