Years ago, after a hideous boyfriend was in my life for too long, I got some help from a family therapist to sort out the how’s and why’s, so the how’s and why’s would never happen again.
Some time after that, when life had turned around and I had met and committed to the one we all know as Howard, I bumped into this therapist in the parking lot of a food market, in East Hampton. He rolled down his window and we got to chatting for a bit, and I conveyed how happy I was, how there was no stress like before, and that there was just a complete clicking, between us. He remarked how he loved that description, and probably something else, like how radiant and young I looked….
I honestly don’t know if I came up with the click thing on my own, but out there is a book called CLICKING, by Faith Popcorn, who is some kind of trend setter/follower type person, and who lives in East Hampton. So I am guessing that I did not, since her celebrity and proximity to my life was quite direct. I massaged her once. I don’t want to talk about it….
To be blunt, I have moved far, far away, and it seems true….out of sight, out of mind.
So when I moved to Monflanquin, to stay with an old friend for a month,(more on her at a later date) while Howard and I acclimated and adjusted, it was a lovely surprise to meet Teresa. We just clicked. And her help with administrative chores made some things more bearable, like paying my first speeding ticket…..and she and her husband, Phil, obviously embraced us as they trusted us immediately with a key to their home, and the care of their 2 dogs. And she likes wine…
Teresa walks. I walk. She has gams for days and I do not.
We hiked what she calls the ‘upstairs’. We stayed high on the ridge of Régis, walking steadily up the lanes, until it was time to cut into the woods on a path that would take us down, down, across, through, up, and back to our road and homes. Great, got it….and if her cocker spaniel Bruno, and her dachshund Fritz, could do it, then so could Sable.
We set off 2 days later on repeat. I have a great sense of direction. I have guided my husband and sister and brother-in-law out of Yellowstone. No one wanted to listen to me when we were lost on the open plain with bubbling geysers and bull bison fattening up, all around us. We go THIS way my sister said. We go THIS way I said. The parking lot is that direction, we came around the ridge, saw the Fairy Falls, headed that way, saw a special geyser, headed directly to where we are standing, with no cover from an enraged bull, should there be one. I am going THIS way, I said. They followed, we hit a service road, and finally the parking lot. It took a really long time.
In the woods I immediately got confused. But down, down Sable and I went. We hit a stream, don’t remember it. Turn around, go up, hit what I think is another path, continue, it is wrong. So I gave up and headed back to the road and went home the way I came. Sable loved every second of it and I noticed she really prances when she sees the sheep and cows.
I wisened up. And figured if I went backwards on the walk, then the second to last section of the walk, through the old farm where Fritz and Bruno know exactly where the fig and apples trees are, (they eat them) to the path that ran along a field that led to where we emerged from the woods, the lost in the woods problem would be solved. A regular girl scout.
The farm, and the fields confused me. What happened to me since retirement? The land is agricultural. The fields beautifully angled and tilled, fitting together like puzzle pieces. On steep angles that you can’t perceive from a distance. Vast perfection and pride, on the part of these farmers. Did we come out of the woods at the top of that field? Did we walk further along the road than I have? Obviously too much talking and not enough compass retention.
And so I asked myself: What would Teresa do?
And I answered: Open a bottle of Rosé.
Right. The sun was moving west faster than I was walking. And so I made an executive decision, based on the fact that I DID know where the top of the woods would put me. Sable and I cut onto the edge of a field and started up. Steadily up, slipping, attracting giant clods of dirt. Some of these fields have tilled trenches that are deep, and that could break your ankles. Clearly I should have purchased the security fob, to wear around my neck. You know the one….. ‘help I have fallen and I can’t get up.’ But would the french operator understand me?
I needed to get to the tree line, follow along and wait for a path. The wrong path that put me into another really large field. Was I trespassing? Could anyone see me?
I wondered, the 2 French jet fighters that regularly patrolled this area, practicing their maneuvers, RIGHT over these fields. Where were these pilots when I needed them? They have flown so low in the last few days surely they would see me waving. They fly so low, sometimes, that the roofs shake, that Sable shakes, and the sheep and cows look utterly bored.
I really wanted the cover of the woods, but the conversation about wild boar crossed my mind. And hunters. Tis’ the season and more than the occasional pop could be heard.
We hustled, I huffed, puffed. Sable took it all in stride. We made it to the woods and I said ‘path be damned’ we are heading straight up to the road. We crashed through undergrowth, got pricked by things I decided to ignore, traversed where it got too steep, jumped over fallen trees. I channeled Laura Ingalls in the big woods of Wisconsin. I channeled Claire Frazier from Outlander, I was a regular Lewis and Clark all rolled in to Laura Lee.
We made it to the road, and it was clear how I had underestimated my coordinates, and the corrections to be made in the future walks. But the road led to home, and right past Teresa’s house, where that glass of Rosé is always waiting to be poured…and from one girl scout to another, I really appreciate that.
P.S. My picture of the deeply tilled fields would not load. But those trenches are not for improper footwear. Or my short legs…