retreat

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There are a few minutes here, a half hour there, but really, not much time at all. During the bigger chunks, the ones in which I could write if I wanted to, work on my own stuff, I don’t. I slip on my sports bra, tank top, leggings sheared off at the knee, and strap the helmet to my head. And then I go, pedaling out of the driveway and onto the two-lane highway. I pedal hard, shifting gears, trying not to aggravate my sore achilles. The wind is cold, rushing into my ears, but still, it feels good to be out there, breathing deeply. I stop when I get to the lake, all that dark grey water, and snap a photo. Then I’m back on the bike, letting the stories I’ve been listening to all morning, peel away, until it’s only me again, biking.

When I talk to one of the girls, I can hear the other in the background, playing, laughing, once again picking up some squabble that had almost been forgotten. We use FaceTime once, but there is a delay, so it’s slow, the talking. And then Zoë hands the phone to my dad, who is at our house helping D stain the fence, and Dad puts it to his ear again and again—a reflex—until I yell into my phone, “Dad! All I can see is your hearing aid!” I say it three times before he understands my garbled words and then he gets it, laughing into the tiny rectangle of my iPhone. Technology!

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This evening there will be an art walk, from gallery to gallery in town, and then pizza maybe—I hope. And then maybe a bonfire, but maybe not because of the ticks, which are a deterrent. And I will create exercises and meet with students (whom I adore) and listen to their words, and it will be wonderful, as it always is. But then I will need to put on my running skirt and tie my shoes and turn onto that highway again until the only sounds I hear are my own breathing, the slap of my shoes on pavement, the rustles of leaves above me as I run, run to the edge of that great lake, its water today more blue than grey.

 

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