After the War of the Landscaping Plastic, Simons and I decided it was time to Leave The House for a weekend. His family shares a country house at Edisto, and after some wrangling and begging, we squeezed ourselves in last minute. Naturally, our first thought was how to pack as much fun into three days as possible. Boat! Surfing! Fishing! Shrimping and crabbing! Reading! Work! Lots and lots of visitors! Salad nicoise!
Thank God, greater powers intervened, which had an initial period of suckitude when the boat trailer had a flat tire, which after inflating, then exploded at the gas station. This was very loud, and immediate hand wringing ensued. Trying to limp the trailer over to our friendsâ€™ Andy and Harriottâ€™s house (the closest safe location for a boat dump), we got pulled by a very surly cop, who kept his siren and lights blaring and flashing, demanded we get off the road immediately. â€śHELLO! What do you think weâ€™re trying to DO?!â€ť It took forever, and Simons was in his own private universe of fury, and being hungry didnâ€™t help, and I was privately convinced I was having stress-induced, pre-term contractions. But we eventually made it, abandoned the boat, grabbed some barbecue to go, and made it to Edisto by 10.
While Simons slept in the next morning, the newly naked Beuls and I went for an early morning walk down the long dirt road that leads to Brick House–the ruins of the house where his grandmother was born. The marsh islands were hushed and steamy from Fridayâ€™s thunderstorms, and the morning mist hung from the oak avenues like Spanish moss. We saw fiddler crabs saluting the dawn from the causeway, and deer tracks crisscrossed the road, where theyâ€™d passed during the night. Beulah frisked ahead, chasing invisible squirrels, while I foraged for muscadine grapes and swatted the hordes of mosquitoes humming close behind.
We made eggs and bacon and the slow kind of grits, drinking coffee on the porch overlooking the river and the ruins. The afternoon was spent in peaceful visitation with old friends and their two small children, showing their daughter the tiny crabs, shrimp and sea squirts clinging to the side of the dock. We (they) drank cold beer and tossed sticks for Beulah from the dock, feasted on muscadines (mostly me) and later, devoured quiche Lorraine, salad and sweet potatoes fries on the porchâ€”all easy stuff, with no lonely sweating over the stove. The TV stayed off; the stereo was quiet. The only noises we heard were the jet-ski buzz of ruby-throated hummingbirds, the what-cheer-cheer of cardinals, and the whir of the porch fan.
Iâ€™ve read an entire book this weekend (the largesse!), and found a new one at a tiny local bookshop by my favorite Southern author, Ferroll Sams, which I didnâ€™t even know existed. Simons went surfing at Edisto Beach, while I spent Sunday afternoon working on the porch, actually enjoying myself, without having to grind my thoughts into unwilling submission for a 5:00 deadline.
We dove off the dock, went swimming and ate three-bean salad, working side by side until evening, admiring the light on the water and patting the groaning, exhausted dog. I feel calmer than I have in weeks, like I can cope. Like our house isnâ€™t running feral in our absence. Like we can have a baby and it will be fun instead of a race to some unforeseen finish. I’m going to try to bring some of this calm back to our everyday lives.