A young man hit the Marshland trail this summer.
The First Six Months
By Robin Jovanovich
Looking back is usually a better use of time than thinking about the present, and this year is no exception. Between the Presidential Election and the pandemic, the four-legged houseguest who never cleans his bowls and the small family of deer who have moved from the back woods to my neck of the woods, what sentient being would want to live in the moment?
I have had it up to my neck with masks and bandanas, even the attractive ones made with love and care. I know how Aretha Franklin felt when she belted out “Freedom”.
Without those first few Zoom cocktail gatherings, I’m not sure I would have made it this far. Thank you, friends for a good call and especially for putting on your most fashionable sweats on party nights.
My feelings regarding most Zoom meetings, however, are not positive. In case you didn’t know it, you don’t look good on Zoom. I bet supermodels don’t either. The picture is grainy, and someone is always fading in or out, or is late to the meeting. People, we are all still leading busy lives, aren’t we? Well, even if we aren’t, there are shows to binge-watch, and lots of life to enjoy.
Take my new friendship with squirrels. They perch on the railing outside my kitchen door or actually push up against the kitchen window to get my attention, starting at 5:30 in the morning when I am waiting impatiently for the newspapers to arrive and about to go out and walk my dog, if not the houseguest dog, in my pajamas. (I’ve made some upgrades in that department this summer at my husband’s insistence.)
The squirrels and I are on a first-name basis. Well, at least I know their names: Sanford (the funny one, and my favorite), Sterling (the aristocratic one who doesn’t beg for his share of the peanuts or go chasing after empty shells), and Samson (who can open every tightly closed garbage can).
To make sure I wasn’t whiling away whole days just conversing with rodents, I started looking up words whose definitions I thought I knew cold. Apparently, I’ve been misusing “pell-mell” since high school.
Now, even my 6-year-old grandson knows it means “in a confused, rushed, or disorderly manner.” Because on one of the many days this summer that there was nothing to do, I told him we were going on a special expedition pell-mell. No, we didn’t travel far, just to the Marshlands, but oh, the wildlife we saw.
At the start of the trail, he asked if we should go back and get help because there were six very large wild turkeys blocking the way in. I suggested we move slowly and calmly back to the parking lot. The turkeys followed us. It was a little more than everyday alarming because the toms then adopted a “gang” pose. My grandson said we should fake right — and he was right as we left the turkeys in the dust.
Ten minutes later, we almost walked into a fawn. We stook stock still when his mother rushed out behind him. “Will the deer hurt us?” he asked, reaching for my hand. Evidently, that was all it took for the mother deer to understand we weren’t predators.
There was no one at the Marshlands that cloudless day but us travelers, so we raced ahead but would come to a full stop to examine a primeval insect on a reed or retrace our steps because I wanted him to enjoy every prospect of the Conservancy.
When we reached the shore, I had one of those lightbulb moments: It was low tide and not that great a distance across to Greenhaven Beach. We could take the “shortcut”!
We started off enthusiastically, but within five minutes, we were stuck in the mud. “Mimi, this is not a good idea!” I had to pull him up and out. One of his boots came off. I stuck it back on, looked into his enormous blue eyes and promised him it was only a few inches thick and that we would make it once we waded through the patch of really thick ooze.
“I’m walking back,” he, a graduate of Rye Nature Center’s Forest Preschool, shouted.
As I attempted to turn around, one of my sneakers got stuck and while reaching down to find it, I slipped and fell face-first in the mud. Back on the shore’s edge, he let out a laugh that could be heard all the way to Hen Island.