I had recently begun my first school counseling job at a junior high school.
By far, the most disturbing part of the job was suicide. When a 12 year old tells you he is thinking about killing himself or a student tells you that her friend is thinking about killing herself , it resonates.
This was a pervasive problem so the state was offering a two day workshop in Seattle dealing with the issue. The program was spearheaded by Curt Cobain’s Aunt who is a therapist and knows a thing or two about suicide.
In one exercise I was paired with a gay guy who was a counselor at Roosevelt High School in Seattle. We were to share our own personal thoughts of suicide with our partner. He started and had many such experiences as a gay kid growing up in Seattle in the seventies. I didn’t think I had anything to share and then remembered hunting by Lock 7.
The Erie Canal/Mohawk River system has many locks which allow boats to change elevation in the canal.
Lock 7 was near my childhood home and in high school it was a place we went to party, which consisted of drinking and meeting girls.
Many years later after being in the Navy during Vietnam and experiencing failures and disappointments in my life, I would hunt Grouse along the river because I loved bird hunting and it was something to do in the snowy fall.
There was one time I was walking the abandoned railroad track, looking for Grouse, contemplating my life, that I stopped and put that cold steel barrel in my mouth. I then removed it and continued walking down the tracks.