It had been a bad vacation.
Yes, I still loved the Island, its beaches and quaint towns, its maze of dirt tracks leading to farmhouses and luxury vacation homes. I still loved Erica, her energy, generosity and creativity, all the rituals we had built over 39 years. This year the twins, now young women, would be there, along with their older sister and her husband, and one of Erica’s sisters.
I loved it all.
But driving the 17 hours east from Indianapolis, we had to agree that it was too much for me. I was easily overwhelmed, with little tolerance for complexity. This became clear on I70 from Washington PA to the Turnpike, trying to keep 70 mph on mountain curves, through construction, changing lane patterns, flashing lights and barriers, trucks of all kinds. The RAV kept drifting onto the right rumble strip. I gripped the steering wheel like a lifeline, in terror of making a misjudgment and killing us. Except for an hour and a half on the way home, Erica and the twins did all the driving for the rest of the trip.
Then there was my e-bike, an expensive gift with the idea of extending my biking years, especially on the Island. We quickly discovered that I was no longer strong enough to handle it in sand. So the family went biking to the beach, while I went on one of my favorite bike trips around the Down Island towns. I decided that I deserved cookies from the Scottish Bake House, and swerved an impulsive U-turn into oncoming traffic. The cookies were great, but I was shaking, I guess I was tired from my long bike ride, because I crashed three times on the dirt track going up the long hill to our cabin. Just a few scrapes, but the bike stayed in the shed for the rest of our vacation.
sand in the gears
wild raspberries just out of reach
I was unable to walk more than a painful mile, even with my new trekking sticks. The family drove me to Long Point but I could not swim or play in the big waves. Or walk to the pond where every year I look at shorebirds like the Greater Yellowlegs, but especially the swan pair with their new cygnet.
At Sylvia Beach, the highlight of my summer is seeing the Black Skimmers and Ruddy Turnstones, who stay on the bay-side. I went swimming and needed to be pulled out because I could not keep my balance, even though the surf was about two inches. I hate sun-bathing. I always get restless and want to do something. I was telling Erica how sad I was to be unable to walk to the Ruddy Turnstones for the first time in at least 10 years.
As I was talking, I realized that I was looking at three Ruddy Turnstones, in full breeding plumage, bold swatches of orange, black and white. About twenty feet away, they ran up and down the highwater line for several minutes, turning over small stones.
traveling at toddler speed
100 miracles per hour
August 31, 2020