Why I did not see this conspicuous street called Lighthouse Road doesn’t surprise me. I realize now that I biked right past it earlier. Something so obvious can sometimes go unnoticed by me, simply because my mind may be really elsewhere. It’s my grief shadow: me being physically present without really being there mentally because I’m pondering or focusing on something grief-related: ironically in this case, I had been trying to push grief aside as I was riding down the hill preparing myself for possibly feeling grief. In trying to put effort to staying in the moment, I actually missed it in the form of Lighthouse Road. Chalk-up one more for the speed wobbles.
This sounds like the beginnings of a joke but it’s not: I have come to learn that when widows meet up at a restaurant for dinner neither is really there at various points of the conversation, but because we are widows, it’s okay not to be okay, so we get each other’s “ins and outs.” We are in good company, extra grief shadows welcomed. It’s us plus the ones we’ve lost. This is probably the only “acceptable social exception” to what for any other group, our occasional spacing-out may come off as rude, disingenuous, or others at the table would want us to just snap out of it. If you or someone you know is grieving a partner, I am here to gently tell you that there is no right or wrong way to feel and express loss and please don’t try to fix this grief, spacing-out and all. If you need those people to come back to the table, put your hand on theirs or brush an arm with your touch. We will come back grateful to see you. Speaking for myself, please understand there are so many sudden turns that lead me away, down the road of grief. I do my best not to get too lost.
Now I’m staring down the curve of Lighthouse Road and again I can’t quite see things clearly beyond the deep green hedges that line both sides of it, and to that, add picturesque homes at the horizon that have probably appeared in one lifestyle magazine or another. Only local cars are allowed here, if everyone were permitted it would look like Lombard Street in San Francisco. I weave my way downhill, and I figure out quickly that worse than cars there are people standing in the road in groups or pairs plus there are speed bumps at various points, so it’s very slow going. I’m so glad to be on my bike, it’s the best way to navigate through. Finally the people and hedges clear, the road straightens out a bit, and I see it: Watch Hill Lighthouse. The lighthouse is perched on a gentle grassy mound, a green just a few shades lighter than those hedges. The overcast day suits it perfectly. It’s stark white form stands surrounded by strong hues of various rock types. It’s a lot of different textures, but it all works together to make a pleasing scene.
Watch Hill Lighthouse, Rhode Island
I rode to the lighthouse, and passed through the open chainlink gate. I walked my bike past the building to water’s edge, there was no going down to it though. I enjoyed being higher up to see out as far as my eyes could reach. There was something about the wind pressing against me that held me together here. With the lighthouse at my back, I felt protected, I could concentrate on looking ahead and didn’t have to worry about what was behind me. I’m in this moment, and it’s not about the lighthouse, then I automatically start taking pictures of myself using the self-timer. I’ve figured out that I can prop up my phone in the new pouch on my bike and with a lot of back and forth, something eventually turns out. I don’t know how long I was there, but I stood the whole time, it just felt ‘right’ to do so. As I am leaving, I notice that the rock walls are covered in a very distinctive deep-ochre lichen. This is a color I love because I am a fan of greys, browns, blues and especially yellows. I stop to take a picture of Auriel and her midnight blue frame against this lovely lichen wall backdrop. It’s nice to see two things go so well together.
Biking away now feels good, I have a smile on my face. I didn’t feel that rush like someone is missing while here. What does that feel like anyway, you ask? It’s like being out somewhere and you suddenly remember you left the bathtub water running. Sudden panic, heart beats through your chest and all blood shoots out of your brain as you’re trying to figure out how you’re going to get back home as soon as possible to shut it off. Only you can do it. All the while, you’re thinking about the water everywhere making a mess, and you’re wondering how it was in the first place that you left the house without noticing it was still running. With too much blood in your brain, the body feels empty and weak, muscles squeeze and contract calling the blood back, but their call goes unanswered for what feels like hours. While finding your way back, you pacify yourself by saying “sometimes things just happen,” but deep down you know it’s just your own stupidity, and the fact that you allowed those horrific thoughts to come forward causes your breath to be taken away. Lies and truths are often mixed together. It’s hard to tell what’s real and not real. [Reunion – Shifting Pt. 04 to follow. Thank you for your continued reading.] ~Paula