Memory is a child walking along a seashore. You never can tell what small pebble it will pick up and store away among its treasured things. ~ Pierce Harris
The girls and I had a father-daughter weekend. This wasn't planned; we'd signed up for the Tour de Chesapeake months ago, intending on all going. But, Heatherly was not up to biking and camping yet, so we got the girls out of school early on Friday, packed the tandem and MeiLin's bike, along with all the camping gear, and headed down the coast of Virginia to the town of Mathews.
We spent the night on the field of the local middle school in our 3-man tent. It rained and poured, and then the lightening crashed around us. While MeiLin slept through it all, Maiya and I conferred and decided the best course of action would be to make a dash for the van and wait out the lightening there. MeiLin didn't get a vote; I had to drag her out of the tent like a sack of potatoes.
But the next morning was bright and clear. After a less than stellar breakfast (or maybe it was the perception because it was served in the middle school cafeteria), we hit the road, Maiya on the back of our tandem and MeiLin on her single. The day was wonderful! Flat, back country roads, little traffic, bicyclists everywhere, sunshine and cool breezes, puddles to blaze through and splash ourselves and each other. The girls chattered endlessly about nothing the music of their silly laughter carrying us down the roads. We stopped for a rest and watched a glass blowing demonstration. We fished for tadpoles in the lilly pond. We ate snacks to strengthen us for the journey. We had lunch along the bay and explored the oyster shell beaches. Seventeen miles and four hours later, we made it back to the camp and the girls still had the energy to play on the school's playground for nearly an hour!
Next on the agenda was a movie at the local theater, complete with popcorn and drinks. With time to kill before the show started, we found a local library and hung out for a while. Post movie it was back towards Mathews and the local beach. Warm sand, warm waters and tons to explore, including the eagles nest on the pier. MeiLin found that the mucky areas of the surf reminded her of her time at the island of Juist and decided a tribute to Alt Oma (Mom's mom) was in order. If you look closely, you can see her name "Sophie" drawn in the sand. More shells, crabs, sea glass and sand - all in the setting sun's light.
Dinner that evening was in down-town Mathews, complete with a live blue-grass band - BBQ to the Orange Blossom Special. The girls broke out their scooters and I sat on the grass listening to the music, watching them zoom around, and silently thankful for time and place and peace.
I don't know what the girls will remember as they grow older. I know that I still have strong memories of events in my childhood, bits and pieces, things that just stand out and give my life a sense of stability, of place, of experience.
We did a lot this weekend. My hope is MeiLin and Maiya will have at least one thing that, in some distant future, some smell or image or sound will spark a memory...and they will smile and be silently thankful for time and place and peace.