alone on the roads

Since Calvin returned to school early this month, I haven't been taking him on our daily, damn-pandemic drives on nearby back roads. I seriously mourn their absence; they were a great escape from these four walls, a kind of unwinding, and a chance to see the familiar smiling faces of a few strangers who have, in various ways, become friends. But a recent spate of spectacular weather inspired me to take a couple of rides by myself, one on my bike and another in the car.

I visited my usual haunts—Simpson's Point, Rossmore Road, Bunganuc, Wolfe's Neck Farm. The scenery didn't disappoint. It never does. And there were hardly any cars to distract me from my surroundings. I was quickly overcome by how liberating it felt to be alone on the roads and to be free of my seizurey, sometimes manic kid. I didn't have to glance at him every so often in the rearview mirror. I didn't have to hand him grapes, blueberries, cubes of cheese, roast beef and chicken sausage, some of them dropping to the floor and bouncing beneath the passenger seat, only to remain largely undetected and festering. I didn't have to reach back to grab the sippy cup from my berserk child whose juicy water streams down his chin soaking his shirt to the skin. I didn't have to suddenly pull to the curb during one of his seizures. I didn't have to lurch back and grab his glasses from his fist before he gnashed them between his teeth. I didn't have to jam a towel in the door to stop him from staring at the sun. I didn't have to hear him moan and shriek and watch him flail. Instead, I just traveled along at a leisurely speed, taking in the ever-changing landscape, which is breathtakingly beautiful in any season and in all types of weather.

In slow motion, I watched hawks and jays dip and soar. I gazed across splendid glens and meadows thick with goldenrod, wild aster, cat tails, Queen Anne's lace, meadow-rue and yarrow. I saw runners and bikers and skate-skiers mounting and descending hills. I saw folks mowing lawns and tending to their gardens. I saw fishermen and clam diggers working the shore. I saw bathers wading in both calm and choppy waters. And the skies. Oh, the glorious, cloud-strewn skies.

If Calvin can keep up his longish stint of attending school (he hasn't yet missed a day), I'll definitely be going back on the roads—very happily alone.
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