When I had called Karen, I envisioned a leisurely stroll as we explored each others lives and interests. The sunset provided the framework for our rendezvous. Wrong. It was all I could do to keep up with this energic “filly” as she set off to prove she could keep up with me. Pauses to take photos of living room-sized icebergs that peppered the mudflats provided the best excuses to catch my breath. We never made it to the point, but we did satisfy the real point of the outing -- to begin to get to know one another.
That day stands in stark contrast with our afternoon at the beach this past week. After hauling firewood (refugees from past building projects) down to the shoreline, my male ego conceded to Karen’s suggestion that we use some dry grass and twigs for kindling instead of the damp boards I was about to split. As the first wisps of smoke rose into the clear skies, and a few calorie-laden multi-grain chips filled our bellies, Karen disappeared down the beach with her camera. Meanwhile I honed in on a pile of rocks conveniently dumped on the shoreline by glaciers when both of our long-forgotten ancestors still lived on another continent.
My digestive juices were already working on my hot dog and I was totally engrossed in painting that pile of rocks, when Karen reappeared. Still in another world I was vaguely aware of her proximity as she vanquished her hot dog. A faint “yoo hoo” pulled me back into the present. I turned to see a distant Karen waving and then disappear behind a pile of driftwood logs. Sometime later, far down the crescent-shaped shoreline, I spotted something that in the distance, appeared the size of a pencil point. Karen, perhaps, or a piece of driftwood. A few minutes later it was gone. Nope, not driftwood.
I was packing up my paints when my exhausted wife reappeared. “For the first time, I feel like I’m getting old.” she said. “That was hard walking.”
That’s how I felt trying to keep up with Karen on our first date.
Somewhere in the distance I am painting in plein air, but you're going to need binoculars to see me.