Though happy to have moved back to the Island, she ached for the Sound, for the cottage that she lived in two winters back, for Sargent Stream lulling her to sleep. She was still thinking about moving back this winter, and some days it was all she thought about.
One morning, she thought of Sargent before anything else, and she decided to make it her morning destination. She pedaled out to Duck Brook, from Duck Brook to Eagle Lake, from Eagle Lake to Aunt Betty Pond. When the carriage path headed straight to Seven Bridges, she veered in the direction of Giant Slide, in woods that abruptly transitioned from an airy open beech-maple canopy to a darker mossy boreal landscape. She had made it, she was home. This was the part of the island that she knew the best and yet it always surprised her: the snowy owls, the four foot long snakes, the coyote den. Not as many deer, a form of wildlife that always made her feel like she was in suburban DC and made her cringe. This, more than anywhere else on the Island, was still wild.
She was not shocked that the only other person she saw was her former landlady walking her dogs. They laughed at the sight of each other, particularly since it was 630 in the morning.
“I was homesick!” she admitted. It was so true yet revealing, revealing that she wanted to return and get more use out of that Swedish wood stove, that she wanted to write in the sunniest of living rooms. Part of her wanted to have a lover or lovers there, since she never had before. She wanted solely her name on the lease, but someone else who would leave their boots at the door and break up kindling and start a broth. Yet she was also content to keep the space for herself, slip out the door and carry her skis to the carriage paths, nurse cup after cup of tea.
She looped back via the Around the Mountain loop, cresting over a flank of Parkman and then dipping down before heading up Sargent. She stopped and locked her bike when she crossed the Northwest trail to Sargent. She could not pass it up, her favorite ridge line despite having traversed it hundreds of times. From Sargent, she headed to Penobscot, and hoped she still
had enough time before work. The day before, she had joked that she would someday have to call and say she would be late because she was stuck on a mountain, but she did not want today to be the day.
Luckily, she reached both Penobscot and work in time. She flew down the carriage path from the top of Sargent to Eagle Lake, screaming with delight, a grin plastered on her face that no one could see.