The driver saw, in the early dawn, me step off the curb and lunge forward. Landing, with a thump, face-first in a ditch. I didn't, apparently, break the fall at all. I just... fell. Hard. There was an audible crunch, the origins of which are still undetermined.
I was fine. I brushed off, picked small pebbles out of my flesh. Made sure the liquid dripping off my hand was not my life's blood, but hot ditch water. After the wipeout, I joined class, and ran through the ringing in my ears.
Which is all to say that I still hurt. The fogginess of the day is likely not attributed to that fall. But I do have weird bouncing-on-pavement aches. Pavement, apparently, doesn't really bounce. Nor does my 40-something year old body.
We drove back from our month in Maryland yesterday. We stretch those drives, longer than seems absolutely necessary.
It was a perfect vacation for the kids, I think. Unplanned time with us, planned time with others. Adventures with godparents and grandparents and far more water than our landlocked permanent address would suggest.
For us grownups, the trip was more trip than vacation - we were fragmented, in varying directions. Once extended family left, the haze settled in, the 100 degrees plus settled in. Annabeth left for ten days, Sebastian had camp. Grann was recovering (more on that) and I traveled back and forth for job interviews and managed to spend entire days fretting about them in-between. The beach (bay beach) didn't beckon so much as mock - Cicadas screaming from the shore, haze, bitey bugs, ridiculously warm tide pools.
I drove the boat a little when m brother-in-law turned over the wheel. I don't do that well. You cannot gain true purchase on water - it is the nature of the beast. You slide along the surface, never quite truly in control. The whole thing feels a little like a video game. Wake sneaks up on me and I wince - always crashing more than expected, or - bracing myself - sliding right over it without feeling it at all.
I obsessively watch the things that measure depth, and the GPS directing my route. I worry about the things under the surface, imagining the things that have snagged and destroyed mightier vessels than ours.
Water that feels like silk when you are in it will certainly kill you if you jump into it from a high enough point. Suicide hotline billboards remind you of this fact when you drive over the higher bridges. It's the stuff of contradictions - danger and life.
On the day after the 4th (ok, the 5th), my mother-in-law had emergency hip replacement surgery. She, too, had trouble with the unyielding ground, and losing control of the surface. She is recovering amazingly well. (With a broken wrist as well, no less.)
We charge forward, navigating the unknown and slick, turning over the wheel when we can. It's hot, and a new school year is about to begin. It's the end of one thing - summer - the start of another - oh to be young enough to mark time by 'grades,' to get that clean slate each year, start over... to celebrate the subtle optimism of sharpened pencils and crisp new clothes... to compare your hard-won adventures to theirs, to hope you don't sit by the one girl in class that spent the season in Paris.
The newness promises. Like water, that reassurance that tomorrow will come sustains us. We don't know what will be there, what lies just under the surface... but we charge forward anyway, and hope someone else will learn from our mistakes on the way.
I posted this a week after writing it. I have written so little this summer, here - it's summer, after all, and it was hard to get the writing head. Plus, I have a few other things I keep up with professionally - so computer time was overtaken by "responsibility". Then, when I tried to summarize the summer, I got that. It's maudlin, really. Though I wasn't at all blue when I wrote it. Which is why I then didn't post it. But, retrospectively, there is something or other there - so I did.