When I was a girl, my dad would take me to the old mill, Stony Brook Grist mill in Brewster Cape Cod, each year to catch the herring as they swam up stream. When I was young we used to try to catch them in our hands as they swam upward towards the larger bodies of water. We also used butterfly nets. It was always a special and magical experience to go watch them swim as they tried to evade us, as we tried to capture them to look at them a bit more closely before returning them unharmed to the stream. The poor herring also had a lot to do to dodge the sea gulls who would come and wait like vultures. After so many years away traveling in foreign lands, my father once again took me to the old mill for the herring run.
All that time away, I missed the horrific screaming of these horrible birds. Sometimes I even cried at night because I missed them so much.
This is a fabulous place for families to go. I spent my childhood having countless adventures in the mill ponds and streams, watching out for snapping turtles, freaking out at the sight of snakes, catching frogs and turtles studying them and returning them then to the water learning about nature and life beyond that of human beings. There is even an old wishing well there. Today, it is covered, but we have been going for generations to the “old mill” as we call it. And it was only a generation ago that my uncle climbed down into it and stole 7 cents and then was forced to split half of it with one of his younger brothers who called halfs. A strenuous trip down and a difficult climb up all for 3 and a half cents. As a family, we have spent so many good times at this mill it is is so very special and magical to go again when the herring are once again swimming, to remember all the fun we had together back in our younger days.