You know that quote “all good things come to those who wait” and the platitude “everything happens for a reason” which we console ourselves with when faced with crushing disappointment? If you detest them then stop reading NOW because this is the next installment of one of THOSE stories.
She lays on the ground, stunned and breathless. Her dog sits quietly beside her, sensing something is wrong. Gingerly she lifts her arm and the pain shooting up her arm rouses her awareness. The wrist appears normal, though very tender to the touch and difficult to move. She tucks her arm into her jacket. Thoughts race through her mind as she walks the dog to the corner and back. “No, not this time,” she vows resolutely. She will wrap the wrist tightly, stash some ice packs in a cooler, down some ibuprofen and hit the road. Off she goes, driving one handed and cautiously but driving intently. It is early, highway traffic is minimal and the coffee is strong. Striking views of fog draped hills, farms peering through the mist, dotted with cows and horses (was that a donkey maybe?) give her journey a magical quality. She is not given to romanticizing about dreams coming true. There is a four hour drive ahead of her, many unknowns at the destination, her cornbread for the potluck is overbaked and she has had nightmares about getting kicked off Bedfarm for taking pictures of Simon. Still there is something promising about the odd little encounters that happen along the way. At one rest stop there is a black lab walking by the picnic tables; at the next one there is a truck with a portable chicken coop. A sweet senior citizen asks her for some help with her car’s cruise control because she is driving the same kind of vehicle. “I’m so glad you are here,” the lady tells her. Me too, she thinks, me too. She resists the impulse to stop along the highway to take pictures of the misty dragons that drift above the Mohawk River. The NY Thruway is not a quiet country road, better not push one’s luck. The photo ops only increase once she leaves the highway and heads north along state roads. Small towns filled with abandoned brick factories, railroad bridges crossing rocky creeks, fields of wildflowers and so many old barns all asking to become a creative springboard. I will have to come back, she whispers as she keeps driving north and east. Then just a few miles from her host’s home she passes an irresistable signpost. She turns around, pulls off the road and takes her first picture of the weekend. “Petrified Sea Gardens?” There couldn’t be a clearer omen for the surprises yet to come.