As leaves turn orange, red and gold in these mountains I love, I get a special joy from driving my Hybrid Ford along the twining roads that slide down, around and up again always giving me glimpses of blue-gray ridges in the distance. A peacefulness seeps into my soul, my inner core, and eases the tension in my neck, my shoulders and for a few sweet moments I forget.
We cruised on the Ottowa River and the St. Lawrence Seaway last fall and I'll never forget being high in a tower on the Canadian side of the river and thinking how much I'd love to stay in that area for awhile near Niagra Falls.
At this time, this week, in spite of my birthday lunch with my sisters, my niece and Barry, I've felt a yearning to escape, to get into my Hybrid and follow the highway as far as it will take me. I don't know if I am just a coward, but when my life is stressed beyond my ability to cope, I often fantasize about running away.
I did that once. After taking responsibility for my semi-invalid mother for many years, and for dealing with my father who never seemed to accept her memory impairment after her stroke, I had a day when I was at the end of my short tether. When it seemd to me that everyone wanted a part of me but nobody was willing to fill up the parts left empty, I climbed into my car and ran away. I remember driving south toward the beach. I had no destination in mind. As I drove, I cried. "The ugly cry" as Oprah calls it. I'd never cry the ugly cry before anyone. I don't ever want anyone to see me cry the ugly cry. So I take my car out on lonely roads and as I drive through picture perfect glades and beside moving water, I scream, howl and mourn over what took me to that place.
I don't think running is all together bad. It is self-preservation and like an animal running from the smell of smoke in the forest, I scrambled away from my pain. For a fortnight, I was completely alone with no one to think about but my needs. A couple of days later I went home, refreshed and ready to take it all on again.