Post our lovely time in Grand Isle, R and I had no specific plans, but he needs to be back in Toronto by Wednesday. Originally, I’d thought we’d wander slowly through Ontario, but after much discussion, we went for a slight change of plans and decided to take the southern route back to Toronto instead. It’s longer, because we’re swinging pretty far south to get below Lake Ontario and then go up the other side of the lake and around to get to Toronto, but it offered several advantages.
First, gas is enough cheaper in the US that the cost was probably close to the same. Second, R needs a cheap mattress for his new living situation and we’d like to buy it on the last day possible before arriving at his new place, ie Wednesday. US prices might be cheaper, so being in the US on Wednesday could be handy. Third, driving through the south opened up the possibility of driving by several places where I used to live — this area of upstate New York is where I mostly grew up and I haven’t really been back in decades. And fourth, Niagara Falls! Classic Americana road trip sight — the kind of thing that belongs on a list with the Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore.
But along the way is Green Lakes State Park, a gorgeous park, very green and lush, beautiful lakes, pleasant treed campsites and really nice showers — the single room kind, where you have a door, plus control over the water temperature. The weather, typical of this oh-so-familiar area, is gray and gloomy, but we drove around for a while, passing by my old high school, three of the houses I lived in (one of which I couldn’t identify — best I could do was say, “sort of somewhere around here and now we must have passed it”), and the site of every bookstore and library that I loved. In fact, R’s impression of my childhood is probably that I did nothing but go to school and read books, because those are the only things that I remember. Although that said, I do vaguely remember this park as a place where we sometimes came to swim in the summertime.
Perhaps it’s because I vaguely remember it that I’ve been feeling utterly phobic about poison ivy. I swear, every random leaf looks like a poison ivy leaf to me. Did I once get poison ivy in this park? Is that why I’m so paranoid?
That’s probably not it, though. Sometimes anxiety manifests as semi-irrational fears in order to shield our mind from less-irrational fears. In this case, I think I am struggling not to let last week’s attack turn into a serious dog phobia on my part. It was so fast, so out-of-nowhere, so aggressive and so brutal. My head still knows that dogs are our friends, but the back of my neck seems to be experiencing some post-traumatic stress, and while I try to talk myself out of it, I worry about poison ivy. Now that I’ve figured that out, maybe I’ll stop. Or maybe I’m actually right that all these random leaves are poison ivy and I’ll be hunting for remedies by the time we get to Canada.
Meanwhile, today is release day for A Gift of Grace. I’m trying not to let that stress me out — Niagara Falls, way better thing to think about! — but I’m not that zen. But I checked and double-checked the files, and I do know that it’s time to let go. So I’ll be working on that while I admire the big waterfall today. But I do hope that all of you reading Grace today enjoy yourselves!
Rachel S said:
Ha! It figures you are in the area a week after I leave for Australia. Somewhere quite close to you, a print edition of Eureka rests on a bookshelf… Enjoy. I hope the storms have lightened up by now.
I waved at you as we drove through! I wondered if you were around somewhere — but Australia is very far away!! Vacation? School? What are you doing in Australia?
Hi! Just finished Grace! Good job! Loved it! Laughed over Noah hearing and blushing when ever his looks are mentioned, too funny! Maybe his twin brother might show up in Tassamara someday… I cried too, but over all it was about hope and closure and totally lovely.
I had a friend whose dog was attacked by a rottweiler while on a leashed walk in a city park.She told me that Taz (her cockapoo) was so traumatized that she shivered and shook on subsequent walks for quite a while afterward. My friend became hyper-vigilant so that walks were no longer fun but something to be got through. I am so glad Z and you are recovering and mending.
Best wishes till next time and thanks for many hours of great reads.
Thank you so much! This brought me much joy this morning! 🙂 (And yes, when I get back to Tassamara, Niall is the next hero I’ll be writing about. Like Noah, he’s a skeptic!) As for the dog, yes, I worried that Z would be traumatized, but she doesn’t seem to be at all — we bumped into another dog a couple of days ago, quite by accident, and she was all sniffs and tail wags. I, however, was all adrenaline racing and fast breathing. But I’m glad she seems to be fine about the whole thing.
Tracie Lynne Hall said:
The weekend after I read your account of Z’s attack, I was at an Artisan/Farmer’s Market in Running Springs (California, where we have a little 2nd house) and one of the vendors had what looked like I figure cattle prods must look like. It had a zapper that looked about the size of a small lemonade frozen concentrate can at the end of a pole. My husband said, “I can’t imagine there is much use for that around here.” And I responded, I bet my new favorite blogger would have appreciated having such a thing when her doggie was attacked. He then asked me if I wanted to buy one. He’s so generous that I honestly don’t know if he meant I might want to give it to you, or if he meant for our own dog. I declined.
Second subject: My Mom was adopted at the age of five and only after becoming an adult learned of her true parentage. She learned that her “real” sister, Marilyn, lived in Manlius, NY, and even went to live with her briefly. I never met this aunt, but did meet her son, Jay, who once came out to California to meet Mom and her family. How fascinating that you lived there.
Oh, how interesting! The adoption, I mean — I’m always fascinated by stories like that. And the small world connections. Interesting one to me, at my first “real” job, in San Francisco, with a staff of about 40 people, I casually said I was from upstate NY one time, and one of my co-workers turned out to be from the same town! It was a really strange small-world coincidence! In my case, I’ve lived in a lot of places, so I often find at least one that someone has heard of or been to. As for the zapper, I’m sure it would be the kind of thing that you would never have on you at the right moment. I’ve got bear spray, and I never ever think to bring it out of the van, until I’m in some moment where I start wondering whether maybe I might run into a bear. 🙂
Tracie Lynne Hall said:
That’s about what I thought of the zapper too. Plus, you couldn’t use it once an attack was in progress without shocking your dog as well.
Yep, love those ‘small world’ connections. Funny you keep reminding me of my Mom. Living in lots of places reminds me of her too, although it wasn’t lots of states, it was mostly lots of cities in California. She came here (from Massachusetts where she lived since her adoption at 5 years old, until it was time to go to Columbia Missouri to attend Stevens College) to be an actress, but then there was that cute guy, and the kids (picture me waving here), and time flew, and then it’s ‘the best laid plans of mice and men’ thing, which involved divorce, raising 2 kids alone (still waving) and more flying time. Anywho, she would have ADORED your books. She wanted me to write something on that theme, but, so far, I don’t seem to be a book writer. 🙁
I’ve lived in my fair share of California cities! Also my parents lived in Massachusetts for a while, though I never did. But I definitely understand that best-laid plans thing. If you had told me twenty years ago that I would someday be living in Florida, I would have scowled at you and if you’d said at the time that I’d be living in a van, I would have looked for the ambulance attendants to take you away! Life can be so unexpected. But I’m sorry your mom didn’t get the chance to read my books — maybe she’s reading them over your shoulder, though! As for the writing… well, I used to encourage people to write, but that was before I spent four years writing and rewriting the same book. It’s fun when it works, but it’s really a pain when it doesn’t. And life is too short to do the things that don’t bring us joy in the doing.
Tracie Lynne Hall said:
Perhaps Mom’s responsible for my happening upon you. I think it probably was the Bookbub thing. I had to detach myself from it because I kept getting books that I had no time to read (like the house full of books I sit in as we speak). I’m sure I had your Gift of Ghosts for quite some time before I decided to look through the titles I’d accumulated and discovered that one sitting there. “Oooo, what’s this” said Self to Self. “Pretty cover, great title. I need a break from Anthony Trollope–I’m going to cheat and cut over to this one.” (Cheat, because I told myself I’d read the entire A. T. Collective before reading any other digitals–I’m kind of Obsessive-Compulsive sometimes–as with that Emily Post book previously mentioned–feeling I must read from start to finish and avoid anything else in that format until I’ve finished it, even though more than half the stuff in there I will never encounter–Example: “Private and Public Balls”) Hmmm. Rambling now. Point was, it was probably Mom tapping my shoulder prompting me to give A. T. a rest and have some fun with Ghosts.
I like that idea very much!