Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Walk in the Woods

It is a beautiful day. It is my husband's day off. We are all healthy and the baby is dry and fed. So, let's go for a walk. Why not go for a walk? Aaron and I could use some exercise and Violet likes to be outside. Last week we went to the Cox Arboretum and walked for about twenty minutes. It was a fairly easy walk, not the cardio that Aaron was looking for, so this week he decides to challenge us. We went to Glen Helen Reserve in Yellow Springs. I like Yellow Springs. I like eating at the Sunrise Cafe and shopping for silver jewelry. I enjoy the scenery. I do not enjoy getting lost. I trust my husband. I always do. No matter how many times he drives around in circles or leaves without a map-- I trust him another day. Getting lost as a passenger in a car is mildly annoying. Getting lost in a car with a newborn baby is nerve racking. Getting lost outside, in the blazing sun, with a nine month old (who will not leave her sun hat on) is so horrifying that you have to block out the reality and start thinking about the story you are going to tell later. To be fair, we didn't know we were lost in the woods. We got lost when we got to the end of the trail and realized that we were on an unfamiliar road, a paved road. We were, in fact, no where near where our car was parked. Further more, we had no idea which direction might lead us back to our car. Now, Aaron was already tired. Violet rides in a little fabric carrier on his back and much of our walk was actually an uphill hike. Aaron led the way. He chose the path. He walked ahead of me with all the confidence of a man raised in Dayton. I brought up the rear, stopping every 100 feet or so to pick up the baby's hat. My daughter and I have similar coloring, that is to say, no coloring. So, I became increasingly worried as the afternoon wore on. Aaron assured me that we were heading up and out of the park. We listened for the cars. As we approached what would be the end of the trail, we observed a fence to our left. Apparently, we had managed to walk in the complete opposite direction of where we were supposed to go. We were at the edge of the reserve, adjacent to John Bryan State Park. All of this is a mute point, because neither of us had any idea what that meant in relation to our car. Suddenly, we were on a paved road and both of us were reluctant to return to the woods. There were no longer any trees to shade Violet, or me for that matter. Our water supply was dwindling. We called the police and they told us to keep walking on the road and the park rangers told us to go back into the woods because the road was a five mile trip. So, Aaron compromised and decided to walk the other direction and look for an entrance to the park that was closer to the stream. This sounded like a bad idea to me. This sounded like an entrance that would never materialize. The road got curvy and developed a guard rail. I saw no evidence that a park entrance was around the corner. Then, as if we were on the set of a Richard Linklater film, a chocolate brown Camaro slowly drove past us. The situation was beginning to look hopeless. Violet was drifting off to sleep. Aaron shifted her from his back to his front and the sweat marks on his t-shirt were getting darker. It was clear that we were getting further and further away from the park. We were standing at the intersection of a major road (still lost, no idea what the name is). NO trees. NO water. ALL sun. The brown Camaro was coming back, slower this time.

"Hey, do you guys know where the main entrance to Glen Helen is?" I laughed bitterly, dryly. The guy offers us a ride. I look at sweaty Violet and at my exhausted husband and my tiny remant of very warm water...

It's an 81' Camaro. His name is Tony and he's wearing distressed blue jeans and a t-shirt. He's got red hair. He's wearing short, wide, wire-rimmed glasses. The stereo is new, but the music is old. "Ah, Jimmy's back on!" He stares at my breasts the whole trip. Aaron attempts to make small talk in the back seat. Violet is unusually quiet. I fear she has sun-stroke. I'm convinced that the rattling in the trunk is a dead body. I wait for him to lower the boom, make a turn down a deserted street. Tony keeps the car steady and says, "RIIGGGHHHT" a few too many times. Finally, we make it to the parking lot. He thanks us for helping him find the entrance. We thank him for saving us. Violet peels away from her father with some sweaty difficulty and we head on our way. Aaron promises me ice cream at the dairy farm. So, I forget about being mad and enjoy my sundae and take Violet to see the cows. I think Violet was more impressed with Tony.

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