Stop Three: a place a spent my childhood summers sailing on a winding river verged with thick greenery like stands of broccoli florets. A place where colonials malcontents dumped British tea into the river just as Bostonians had. A place of boxwoodhedges, weathered brick sidewalks lifted into gentle waves by tree roots, and cast iron fences lumpy with years of repainting. A place of crab feasts laid out on newspaper-covered folding tables under the trees, fingers sore with the sting of Old Bay seasoning under the fingernails and the ruthless barbs of crab claws. A place of sailing canoes so narrow with sail that the crew sits on long planks propped far out over the water to counterbalance the force from acres of creamy sail. A place of whirring locusts in the summer, sad honking geese in the fall, and ice clogged stands of dry bending reeds beside the river during winter. A place I go to visit family and remember who I am and where I came from: Chestertown, MD.
They have an excellent bakery there, Evergrain Bread, which makes sun buns of flaky butter pastry and gritty sugar which, when paired with a coffee, let you enjoy the primal joy of sitting at a café table and letting your mind drift like summer clouds. For our family it was time to visit with grandparents and unwind, the hullabaloo/hubbub/bumblebullaballo of the previous week and half of family/friends/activities fading like the final blasted note of a train horn. I needed this unplanned quiet time. In an upcoming post I’ll discuss how an introvert fares on a vacation with children and lots of people but the short verdict is: not well. Without escape/recharge time I became a two-legged Yertle the Turtle, trying unsuccessfully to hide in my shell.
Child Harbat got to play older sister to a younger cousin and the three children formed a trio of noise and play that thankfully could escape to the outdoors. And what an outdoors! The greenery, the humidity, the plants and flowers and trees, everything was alive and respirating. It was a good reminder of why I left that climate and what I miss about it. With a real winter that sends everyone into a hibernating funk, summer is a time to live, to flourish. For our part we ate, rested, sat on the porch and listened to birdsong bouncing around in the trees, and let the denouement of the vacation calm us before the long flight home. And soon we’ll hear what a flight that was in “Flying With Toddlers, Part Two”.