Slow down, summer

It was a rough winter around here, blizzards and broken pipes and all. Finally, it’s May and everyone is thrilled with the warm weather and sun shining.

I wish the offseason would linger a little. That’s because my time in my winter rental house is ticking away and I can feel my little seaside town subtly shifting toward summer. There’s definitely more traffic, and there are contractors everywhere fixing up houses, making noise. Where there were just two boats in the harbor all winter, the moorings are filling up. The first few times I went out on my board I was the only one on the water. Not so anymore. Now when I’m out paddling I worry more about navigating boat wakes than the wind — and that’s saying something when you consider Buzzards Bay’s breezy reputation.

Even as the summer people scare the hell out of me by setting off M80 fireworks near my house, I’m composing a sad country tune called “I’m Gonna Miss this Place [more than I miss my dog].”

the harbor that was so quiet all winter is getting "crowded"

the harbor that was so quiet all winter is getting “crowded”

You see, I’m living in my “divorce house” — the perfect existence my friend Liz describes in this blog post that made it to Huffington Post and reminiscent of Virgina Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own — but mine is not a fantasy. I’m living alone for the first time ever in my life and I love it. This morning I got up really early, didn’t have to deal with anyone else, and went kayak fishing for oh, a few hours. Then, without consulting anyone again, I did 20 miles of rollerblading on the Shining Sea trail.

The best part is I chose to live here, unlike so many places I have lived in the past 25 years. I didn’t “have to” live here to be near a spouse’s work or good schools, I simply saw the water view through the windows and picked this one. And it has exceeded my expectations. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone had that opportunity?

my early morning view

my early morning view

Oftentimes when I finish a day’s work I grab my board and look for a corner of the harbor and inlets that I haven’t explored. The water can be shallow in unexpected places, providing a great 3D view of sea life from above: the crabs that get defensive and raise their claws as I float over them, the jellyfish that rhythmically propel themselves to points unknown. It’s not unusual for me to drag myself back very close to dark but completely invigorated by the experience and in love with this place.

from every angle, this town has been perfect for me

from every angle, this town has been perfect for me

The entire experience would have been perfect except for those uninvited guests. Maybe the late spring has been a blessing after all, or the aggravations of sharing this space might have started months ago.

My runs are now interrupted by people on the sidewalks and actually sitting on my beach stairs! Now that is massively aggravating. It means I can’t just go out in the middle of the day and do reps of the stairs at will, I have to skip the sets that are occupied or wait for a cloudy day. That’s not to mention little kids playing on the beach where I want to run! OMG! And I can’t wait until the people living along the “private beach” I’ve run on all winter start telling me to get off when I’m doing my usual route.

as long as there are no summer people sitting on them, the stairs are the best workout around

as long as there are no summer people sitting on them, the stairs are the best workout around

Recently there were other bikers on the trails I’ve enjoyed all winter (fair weather boys), not to mention the gridlock on the canal path when I go there to skate. Weekends are getting ridiculous. Do I have to move to Acadia to enjoy seaside solitude? Jeesus, I’m starting to sound like a Cape Codder who stays in all summer to avoid the tourists, and I rarely cross the bridge!

The hardest part is that my landlady asked me to come back next winter. Wouldn’t I love to! But it’s probably not in the cards. Unless…

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