it's a glorious morning when calvin wakes up on his seventh day without seizures, eats all of his breakfast, then gets on the bus heading to school. it's a glorious morning when a field sparkling with frost crunches underfoot, when trees have turned neon and the sky is blue. it's a glorious morning when it's thirty degrees and the sun is warming my face and shoulders. it's a glorious morning when i see people i like and love on the roads and fields and trails.
this morning, smellie and i went on a stroll with lauren and her dog, hola. we caught up on all things newsworthy and personal. we took a detour to an open space i rarely go. there, the marathon runner i used to see quite often on my pandemic car rides glided by and said hello. later, on the second part of an extra-long walk, i ran into a smiling tahnthawan, gave her a hug and talked with her about dogs, sparkly things, and trying something new. back at home, i marveled at the morning light splashing on the acidy, autumn foliage in my garden. any one of my few encounters were enough to make my day a good one.
after a late-morning bowl of steel-cut oatmeal with spoonfuls of honey and flaxseed meal, i drove along the back roads to michelle's house. she gave me a tour of her gardens, which are magnificent and ruggedly lovely, even as the perennials have gone to seed. then, we set out for a little jaunt, at first walking along the sleepy street that runs in front of her home. from there, we dipped into a quiet neighborhood and, at the dead end, ducked into the woods. the path, which was blanketed with fallen leaves, spilled onto a salt marsh offering a wide-open view of maquoit bay. we were surrounded by maine's astonishing beauty. warmed by the sun and standing on mats of soggy reeds and wooden planks stuck in the mud, we talked about caring for our disabled and chronically ill kids. as a hospital nurse, she shared some of her nightmarish emergency room covid stories, and we agreed that now is not the time to give up on measures meant to combat the pandemic, save lives, and suppress the emergence of more virulent strains, by getting vaccinated and wearing masks indoors. we also agreed that places like the one we were immersed in have saved us during the pandemic—that if we didn't have easy access to roam in and around wild, beautiful landscapes, our lives as caretakers during the pandemic would be much harder. i told her that the pandemic—most notably because of my daily drives along back roads with calvin when he wasn't in school—had made me more grateful for maine, its space, beauty, and its people. in essence, familiarity has endeared me to it.
i drove home with the windows rolled down. a sunny, sixty degrees feels balmy in a maine november. the breeze blowing through my hair felt exhilarating, like riding my bike as a girl. heading down the hill toward the bay, i could see forever—a rare thing in this place of few soaring vistas. i felt a sense of freedom i don't often feel anymore. i still had two hours to kill before calvin's return from school. i had time for a long, hot shower, and a chance to do some writing. having worked up an appetite, i dreamed about all the delicious leftovers we might eat for dinner—black beans and salmon, chicken curry, turkey-ricotta meatballs in puttanesca over homemade noodles—and the chocolate-malt-marshmallow-oreo ice cream cake i just made but have yet to taste. i was filled with gratitude. and i wondered, after such a glorious morning, if anything else (besides my amazing husband) might just jump right out and delight me. right then, calvin's bus pulled up to the curb, and my drooly, smiling turkey stepped off and almost hugged me.