After several days stuck indoors, we got on the road again. It was a good day. Calvin woke up happy, ate well, smiled plenty, laid in my lap calmly in the heat and humidity. On our ride, I saw the Carhart Man with two of his dogs. I pulled over and introduced myself. Told him about Calvin and our year-plus of back roads travels. In asking about his third dog, he told me he had recently buried it. At seventeen, it had finally given up the ghost. I expressed my condolences, then added my gratitude for his unwitting help in getting me through the damn pandemic with his grins and nods. He smiled broadly when he said it made his day knowing he had eased my way. People are good. So many are understanding and compassionate. Despite my troubles, I feel so fortunate.
As we continued on, Calvin remained content, having mostly recovered from three recent grand mals in two days' time. We drove along at a pace best for taking in the scenery. In a nearby field I saw little kids kicking soccer balls. From afar, I think I spotted the red-headed neighbor boy—not much older than Calvin—whom I've watched grow from a sweet little kid into a fine young man. My eyes stung and I tasted salt at the back of my throat seeing him shepherd the other children around. So many missed opportunities, I thought to myself, wiping one eye with the ball of my thumb.
Driving on, I noted the billowy, peachy-pink willows which are still in bloom, though fading soon. Discovered early hydrangeas blossoming like balls of popcorn in creams and blues. Saw massive stands of bright-orange day lilies flanking the road. Watched thick summer canopies of maple and oak wrestling with the wind.
I took the straightaways and curves slowly. I made an impromptu visit to a friend's house. She wasn't home, so I left her a happy face made of two sun-bleached oyster shells, a rock, and a banana-shaped leaf for a mouth. I stopped and watched a bay tossed into whitecaps by the gales. I saw a blue heron and one brave wader shoulder-deep in the sound. It was so good to get around. Good to get back on the road again. To get out of the house for a spell.