My Lulu Burgess sweatshirt. The Cabot Trail. A career. Loved ones.
I lost my sweatshirt. I didn’t want to get it dirty after just laundering it, so I took it off and hung it on the handlebars of my bike while I was emptying the black and grey water tanks. My bike is mounted to the back of the Winnebago. I drove away from site 48 in Dingwall’s Hideaway Campground forgetting the dangling pale, blue hoodie. I remembered it at 3 A.M. the next day when I was chilled in the RV. I like sleeping in it with the hood over my head. I asked Mac for it after one of his early morning “tee-tees” (as Diana would say) and he said, “It’s not hanging up.” Later, when I told him what happened, he remarked, “Oh well” in an unremarkable way and I appreciated the response versus what I may have said. Something like, “You dumb*!#.” I won the sweatshirt at a Christmas giveaway from Nan Sutton, owner of Lulu’s, my fav Beaufort Bay Street shop. Visiting Nan and Lulu’s at Christmas with Mom was an annual event. Now, I kind of understand how apparel gets orphaned on streets and sidewalks. Dumb*!#’s like me. There are bigger things to consider.
Losing the only sweatshirt I packed for this Canadian trek causes me to ponder loss. These days, many things cause me to think about loss. Mac and I finished the Cabot Trail closing a six year wait to get here. We didn’t stop at every overlook but we inhaled the beauty at every twist in the road. Capturing surprise and wonder in every iPhone photo – not happening.
I’ve met other newly retired folks on this journey like the fellow in the campground laundromat who asked me, “What’s next?” in the same way my brother Stan asks me the question but not with the same intention. Laundry-boy is heading to Thailand, Rome, Barcelona, and then the USA. He and his wife sold their house. I shared that we did not sell our home. I am a bit risk adverse. And when I think about what’s next, it isn’t a travel brochure or a litany of destinations. One day at a time. Discernment after career. Hoping for that Wow! moment. Didn’t find it doing laundry and I am having flashbacks of my sweatshirt. 😦
This morning, I met Glenn, 58, retired two and one-half years from jobs as a lobsterman and Fortress security guard. He was catching mackerel after mackerel in the Louisbourg Harbor on Walmart lures that cost about $3CAN made out of a hook, sparkling shredded plastic and clear tubing. The weight on his line is a piston with hooks a fishing buddy made. He uses the fish as lobster bait and gives some to a friend for coyote traps.
Glenn’s doctor told him “shift-work takes ten years off of your life” so he at fifty-five, he “walked out the door.” Too many changes at work. “Changes are good sometimes, sometimes not” he says. Mentioned earlier, Glenn worked at the Louisbourg Fortress.
We visited the historic site, a reconstructed archeological masterpiece replete with costumed staff and period furnishings.
Mac found the best looking soldier on the grounds to befriend. Nice musket.
Underneath loss is joy waiting to be found. Between layers of wondering and wandering are second chances. At a secluded Dingwall beach Mac discovered, I dove into a bone-chilling ocean. In a tiny Nova Scotia hamlet, I met Superwoman. On bike ride at dawn, white wings lift to heaven. And somewhere in Nova Scotia, a stranger wears a pale blue hoodie from Lulu’s. Let go.