Maya says . . .
A forecast of 95 degrees. Rising slow and late, hurry-less.
Coffee from the new pot. Hazelnut creamer. PopTarts soft from the microwave.
Leaving the campground, tandem and Burley trailer stowed snugly in Maude.
Realizing, again, that I am not a (total) purist.
Realizing, again, that sometimes the day calls for a change of plans.
Realizing, again, that sometimes you just have to go a different way than you intended.
The dirt county roads of the Pawnee National Grassland.
Sprinklings of cows.
The first birds for miles.
The absence of power lines.
Names like Y.5.
Watching the fuel gauge dip to 1/8 of a tank.
Crossing my fingers.
Route 14. Raymer. Stoneham. Partial abandonment and near-ruin.
Signs for Sterling. Then, in a blink, Walmart, that paradox of Mecca and brutal awakening. . The usual suspects of strip malls. Gas to our right. Full tank. Sighs of relief.
Roast chicken, cherry tomatoes, spring greens, clementines, 12-grain bread, 6-pound bags of ice.
Shock Top Belgian White. The heat, mounting.
North Sterling State Park. Holiday weekend. Lunch under a picnic shelter.
A nap that couldn’t be stopped if we tried.
Pelicans on the lake.
The refreshing yet slightly disquieting lack of wi-fi.
Rain in the distance, then up close. So close.
Pellets of hail.
Drama and disbelief. The sky heavy, slate grey.
How quickly it passed.
Cold root beer.
A swimming pond we didn’t swim in.
A shower you put quarters in to turn on.
The first campfire.
Amy says . . .
It WAS disquieting and refreshing to be without wi-fi, and most of the day without cell service at all. Once every few hours I'd pick up my phone and see that I was linked with 3G so I'd post a photo on Instagram to let people know we were alive. But the vast skies and the fast-moving storm, the holiday decorations dotting the park, and the little boys on bikes circling the campground captured my attention. It reminded me of being ten, the year we moved to New Jersey, and those hot days of that first summer, when I'd jump on my green Schwinn 3-speed, the one with the banana seat and the gear shift at my knees, and I'd pedal all over town.I'd spend long days exploring the neighborhoods and the parks, making new friends and letting my mind wander to the deepest corners until I thought about nothing at all but what was right there in front of me.
My mother had no idea where I was and that was just fine. She knew I'd be home when I got too hot or too hungry, or when the light had faded in the sky and the sun was making it's last brilliant gasp before nightfall. That's independence. That's my kind of freedom.