I saw that Bryan, until just recently our Saturday contributor, has announced his retirement from his spot on this Blog and introduced his successor. He is not the first. There is precedent for how such things are handled at the Widow’s Voice blog.
It is fast approaching two years that I stepped into my current Thursday spot. It is not easy to write a weekly column. You would assume there is a limited universe of material given our common denominator that makes the Soaring Spirits organization seem like a family. A laudable achievement to be sure, I think, the more so given that I have never even met another member in person.
As for specific themes and stories, I find that for me these typically develop organically, although remaining subject to change without notice until the moment I hit the publication button. I want my themes and stories to be readable. The act of writing is for me simultaneously demanding, rewarding, enjoyable.
Some weeks it is hard. I understand how folks might choose to leave. However, I still am happy to be here.
Later today Robyn will leave her suburban house and drive into the city where I live. Once she arrives to my home, we’ll put up her vehicle in the garage, then depart in mine for a long weekend getaway. Fall is a fine time of year for a road trip.
The first time Robyn and I went away together my principal question was how we were going to mesh (or not) in close quarters for an extended period, each openly displaying to the other a hitherto never-before-observed private side. Certainly, going in I knew that I had my fair share of particulars and peculiarities. Today, fortunately, having now been there and done that with Robyn, I harbor no such relationship questions.
Whether it’s by road, by air or by water, travel itself will always be a wild card. Yet, with the right companion, sharing even its bumps and bruises can be manageable fun. And, if you’re lucky, you will carry home the good stuff that makes lasting memories.
It’s ironic that the ABNB where we will be staying while away from home happens to be located quite close to Deer Tick Manor, my former palatial estate in the woods, albeit now under new management. On this short trip the only pertinent question I have has nothing to do with me and Robyn, rather, the question is whether I will stop to say a quick hello to a couple former neighbors while getting the skinny from them on my replacements?
The ostensible purpose of our trip is for me to scope out high end outdoor furniture for use in the backyard of my permanent abode in the city. From Deer Tick it is only about a 90-minute drive due east where Amish and Mennonite communities still make quality furniture in quantities far larger than the local population could ever support financially without outsiders like me to buy it. My cursory internet research suggests the possibility that a few locals might view Robyn and me as “Englisch.” Even so, I would not assume that the description is meant as a pejorative.
Anyway, who needs an excuse for having a good time? Based on firsthand knowledge, having lived in this area on a part time basis for the better part of twenty years, I know that there will be fewer tourists visiting the area now that Labor Day has come and gone. Walking along the relatively uncrowded beach and dune trails, should we choose to do so on our holiday, Robyn and I should have the benefit of a largely unobstructed lake view.
Around this time of year, I know that the prevailing wind shifts. It now will be blowing mostly out of the north, befitting the season, perhaps, but on cooler days when the air carries a bite, it hints at Winter’s inevitable arrival. For days on end, the wind can produce seemingly endless rows of dramatic whitecaps. This wind stirs the lake, so that on sunny days you can observe its myriad shades of blue dissolving at depth to the color of India ink. This weekend’s forecast is calling for mostly sunny conditions and temperatures around 70 degrees! I have a good feeling.
If not hiking alongside the lake, then perhaps we will be exploring a wooded trail under dappled sunlight with a hint of pine; or, navigating an undulating, twisty 2-lane road, where any completed curve might suddenly reveal a border of late-blooming flowers fronting tall, brown grasses with top tassels, and a grove of backlit maple trees of yellow and red that flashes momentarily as we pass it in our vehicle; or, while at rest, hearing the approaching calls of the birds, then a quick glimpse to the sky hoping to witness the ancient ritual of a flight flock migrating southbound. Maybe we’ll do everything — or nothing.
I do know there must be a trip to the orchard—it’s the initial harvest of Honey Crisp apples, which are my favorite kind. This orchard has a store where there is a large and colorful outdoor display of fat, orange pumpkins, decorative corn husks and dried grasses, gourds of odd sizes and shapes, where it pedals cider and other sweets treats along with any remaining homegrown vegetables. As we turn into the parking lot a tractor hauling a tram full of eager pickers with their apple bags departs from the premises in the opposite direction, heading for the orchards.
There also will be shops to explore with Robyn, who is adept and knows her stuff. I expect her to contribute sound advice regarding my hunt for outdoor furniture. This conversation might occur over mid-afternoon charcuterie at one of the local vineyards.
And, if not, then toward dark, Robyn and I will tidy up before heading back outside for a nice dinner. We have plenty of decent dining choices and even one or two good ones. Tomorrow, I have a dinner reservation for us at the steak house at the casino, a tough seat on any weekend. Weeks back when I made this reservation Saturday was already solidly booked. Perhaps after dining we’ll enjoy a little late night adult fun at the gaming tables and slots. Finally, back to quarters for a nigh cap, then who knows?
Of course, I won’t make any prediction how things will play out in real time once we arrive. Well, allow me to amend this statement. No matter our activities, I am certain that Robyn and I will enjoy our long weekend together.