Monday, September 24, 2012

Escape to York River State Park

When I was younger I wasn't very comfortable with myself and my own company. When I took my first job in Plymouth I'd return to a shabby room every night, buy a few tinnies and look ruefully out of the window at the wet streets. I'd drive up to the moors and hang out by a mountain stream twisting and turning in my isolation as families wandered past and kids played in the river.



Of course it didn't last. Before I knew it I had inherited two room mates and a dining room full of people smoking pot on the table mats.

But the older I get the more antisocial I seem to become and the more I value my own company. On the day I visited York River State Park my wife had arranged some some kind of clutter expert to come into the house at an inordinate cost, to move a couple of boxes. I couldn't wait to escape to catch the sunshine and avoid the inevitable argument that would be brewing. It also made me think obliquely about a woman I once wrote a feature about known as "Clutter's Last Stand," whose methods included making me crawl under my desk so as she could wack my backside with a vacuum cleaner attachment.


Heading north with the blue water to the east and the west of me, I could hardly contain the soaring sense of freedom. One day, maybe I'll head west and I won't stop until I see the Pacific. It may be a let down, though. I saw the Pacific recently in Baja California and it looked rather like the Atlantic.



While I'd like to see soaring serrated mountains again, I made do with the forested hills and estuaries of Virginia. I had been to this state park before, but managed to miss the correct entrance. I followed a small road down to a boat ramp, walked around and scratched my head. There were no trail maps and no trails. I drove back up the narrow road and was somewhat alarmed to see a large white pickup following me closely. I associate pickups with McCain/Palin stickers and guys with hunting rifles hidden in their beards who'll shoot you at the first hint of a funny foreign accent and ask questions later.



I turned left at a crossroads and the pickup turned left. Then I got lost again and turned around in a gas station. The pickup followed me to the point of almost blocking me off. I lowered the window and found myself staring at an elderly gentleman.

"I saw you back there and thought you were looking for the state park. You've missed it again," said the kindly old gentleman, who proceeded to point me in the right direction.



I slowly replaced the magic squirting ink pen that I had poised to attack a thickset maniac.

It was hot at the state park but I persevered on a trail through the sticky woods. Then I hung out and read a book on the beach. Half a lifetime ago I would have felt ill at ease.




 Now I felt fine. I had the wilderness to myself. It couldn't have been better. Well it could have been but I won't go there.


Then on the way back I ended up on a small road to nowhere by some mean ranch houses. With a start I realized I had been here before but it was dark and mysterious. I didn't want to remember, but in a curious way I did.





16 comments:

  1. I suppose it's similar to me craving the desert (out of school holiday time) and sitting watching the night sky for hours at a time - with no one around! Bliss. Just back from 2 weeks outback, no internet, no phones, no electricity. It wasn't long enough - but there are posts to write ;-)
    Sue

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    1. have you been in the desert Sue? That's awesome - it would be nice to cut off from all of that but I'd probably start twitching

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  2. Aaaah! Lovely . . .

    I appreciate a good and true introspective moody, gloomy day. I like to revel in the darkness just a little bit now and then. Everyone seems to think they need to be happy all the time!

    There is a difference between being unpleasant and being thoughtful. People are, at times, overrated!

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    1. ha - people are overrated Deborah - yay for introspection.

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  3. Looks like a lovely and serene spot. Nice pictures. I don't mind having time to myself either. I wouldn't want it all the time, but the quiet is nice. It allows me a chance to do things I've been wanting to do without distraction.

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    1. for sure Daisy - not that it ever lasts long enough..

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  4. Those pictures are so pretty! Wonder what kind of berries they are in that one pic?

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    1. thanks JoJo - no idea but I loved the colors.

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  5. What a beautiful post. That first photo is what heaven looks like to me. I would have loved to spend a day like this, alone in the wilderness with a book. Love it.

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    1. I know Emm - I guess there are places like that near London, the Ashdown Forest etc..

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  6. Gorgeous pics, what a beautiful place.

    I like my own company too. Did the boxes get thrown out in the end? I decluttered my garage last year. Took a month and 5 car loads to the tip. Very therapeutic it was.

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    1. a few of them Sarah, lol. Maybe I need a therapeutic trip to a smelly tip.

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  7. Great pictures! And how I wish I could feel the same! I'm in one of the most beautiful places of Spain but I feel too restless and nervous to enjoy it. Hope it stops happening, like in your case.

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    1. why Starla - Spain is awesome - you need to get out in into the wilderness - guess you have student angst etc.

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