Friday, November 23, 2012

Rule of Thumb

A 67 degree day is just what every red-blooded American needs after the gluttony and sloth of yesterday's holiday.

Sure, I know lots of people are busy getting their shop on.

I know because on the way home from my turkey dinner in Maryland last night, we passed a Best Buy and a Walmart and the lines were around the stores at 10:00.

Not me.

Instead, I took advantage of such an unexpectedly beautiful day by grabbing the closest sloth and insisting that we head down to Belle Isle.

Crossing the pedestrian bridge to the island, the river looked a brilliant dark blue.

Scores of birds sat on rocks in the middle of the river, sunning themselves.

In the middle of the bridge, I was brought up short by a tribute of flowers and a picture of the 19-year old who'd fallen to his death there Saturday night.

It was a sobering thing to see on an otherwise perfect afternoon.

Walking around the island, we saw people in jackets and hats while we wore shorts and t-shirts.

Back in college, my best friend and I had a rule of thumb: if it was above 65 degrees, it was warm enough to put on our bathing suits and lay out.

And while I'm not that foolhardy (or eager to tan) anymore, it was plenty warm enough for shorts today.

After our first loop of the island, we took the trail to the bridge that crosses to southside, in search of a new pleasure.

We got it when we decided to return to the island without using the bridge.

Walking rock to rock and frequently changing course when an insurmountable boulder presented itself, we climbed, leaped and dropped until we'd made it back across the river.

Just for the record, it was my first crossing of the James River.

I put a hand in the water to check the temperature (cold but not painfully so) so while I wasn't surprised to see dogs fetching sticks in it, I was surprised to see a woman standing in the river up to her waist.

Down at the quarry, we watched as a young girl, tethered and maybe ten years old, climbed the rock wall fearlessly.

We spotted an artist out on the rocks painting en plein air and climbed down to see what he'd wrought.

A landscape of the shore with yellow-leaved trees, rocks and water sat on his portable easel as he continued to dab at it.

I watched a small rock appear from the end of his paintbrush.

Nearby a group was doing a family portrait with what appeared to be a professional.

The photographer had a light on a tripod set up in the water next to a rock.

In front of that was the Asian family being photographed, including the most adorable triplets, maybe three years old and wearing matching argyle vests as they posed on the rock.

One spotted me, turned away from the group and smiled widely, no doubt happy to ignore the commands of the photographer and just smile at whomever he chose.

Or maybe he was just wishing he'd been allowed to wear shorts, too.

It's all in the rules you make for yourself, Son.

Besides, if not now, when?

No comments:

Post a Comment