Since Calvin went back to school, I've sorely missed my morning drives. Miss my adopted lonely back roads and familiar faces of strangers. Miss the nods and smiles and waves of bikers, dog walkers, runners. Miss seeing the wild turkeys, hawks, and jays.
The Kid and I went for a drive yesterday. Since last time, the landscape I've grown accustomed to has changed. Trees are fully leafed out now. Some streets have been repaved. The tangled, citrus-tinted azaleas I discovered last June on Bunganuc bloomed again. It's nice revisiting and remembering them. Recalling the start of my yearlong love affair with the road—its hills and dales, movement and nuance—feels good. Nostalgia of a certain time and place is alluring. What a curious and inviting thing that is.
Summer arrived too soon. Ninety-degree days, mugginess, bugs, and biting spiders. Rhododendron and azalea blossoms melting in the heat. Clouds of pine pollen hanging thick like smog. Sun-lit particles drifting sideways in the wind. Yellow blotches and puddles forming on leaves and streets after a rain. Everything looks dusty and a little bit strange.
My in-laws arrived from Florida. It has been two years since we've seen them. To have them here is sterling. I hope to show them the back road scenery in the next few days. Drive them to my favorite places. Ride the rises and hollows. See the vistas and bridges, the spots that, along with writing, have kept me (mostly) sane during this rampant and endless pandemic.
Yesterday, bunches of little kids were riding their bikes to Simpson's Point. Seeing them felt bittersweet (Calvin and I miss so many of life's pleasures.) A handful of bathers waded out and dipped their shoulders into the shallows of the bay. The scene looked like a picture from olden days—folks in swimsuits and sunbonnets just cooling off when there's no comfort in the shade—like back when I imagine life was simpler. Something about the pandemic took me there, too. To a simpler time and place of few distractions. Just weather, scene and mood.