It was terrible traffic through NY the other day, but we determined to cross land to make it to my godson’s high school graduation and 18th birthday party!First we had to deal with the Hutch though. The last time I went to Woodstock from Long Island I took the Cross Bronx–big mistake, so I thought the Hutch would be better. NOT! We were stuck in traffic crawling along a short 10 mile stretch for 30 minutes. It was stop and bump! Yes, someone bumped into the back of our car. It was fine, but we were not happy. I turn into a real nag in traffic–I just want to get out of it! “Take that exit,” I said, “Try that one!” The Merman, an eternal optimist, continued in the sludge flow, saying, “It can’t go on much longer.” Of course, this is NY and CT traffic–it can go on forever! By the time we shook ourselves free, we were both irritated with each other and the dog had to pee. At the rest stop, he walked the dog around the back and I couldn’t find them, so we lost time. I was really a mess now! I wanted to get where we were going! You know how when people tell you to calm down, then you really can’t? I just wanted to get back to my beach! But I wanted to see my favorite kids and embarrass them with kisses! So we pressed on.
By the time we got to Woodstock we were not half a million, we were grumpy middle aged former hippies, who were hot and aching and did I mention grumpy? I faked my bad mood for the sake of dear friends I hadn’t seen in a couple of years, and the boys who immediately challenged the Merman to Table Tennis. I poured a couple of glasses of wine with ice in them–they weren’t both for me–then joined friends on the deck of Sag Harbor’s First Mermaid (like being the First Lady!) and looked out at the Catskill mountains. There were goldfinch eating from the bird feeder and the mountain ridge was lush blue green. The creek at the edge of the property quietly flowed over blue slate and I had a sudden urge to go visit it. So as everyone was chatting, I took the merdog for a walk.
The water was clear and fresh and cold, and even though it was shallow, there was just enough depth for me to float on the surface like a water bug. The merdog waded through the shallows. I dipped my hand into the water and drank. Creeks has this marvelous sense of infinity about them, as they are always coming from someplace and going to another around the bend of rocks and trees. I so needed to flow in that sense of unlimited journey, so this fresh water mermaid stripped off her clothes and slipped in. Immediately the horrors of the Hutchinson Parkway faded from memory. Up above were thousands of leaves, dark green and light, yellow and chartreuse. And peeking through their canopy was baby blue sky. It made me think of the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote: “The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.”
The funny thing was that no sooner had I dipped than I felt the need to get out and return to the hot deck and company. I stood up and then I stopped myself. Why was I rushing away from this moment? I had been rushing all day. I thought, what if someone walks by and sees me? And I realized that it would be really nice for them and for me–not embarrassing or shocking, just lovely that two people enjoying nature should pass each other, like creatures in the woods do. So I encourage all of you with inner water nymphs to bless your local creeks and swimming holes with your naked heart and let the water bless you in return.
It’s when we slow down that we experience the most amazing things…