It’s in my neuro system I’m told. A.D.D. all of that psycho-babble. Slow is a speed which I find painful. I’d almost rather be still than slow. I’ll hurry along to my point now.
I’m compelled to learn what’s causing the gait disturbance.
Perhaps it’s in the air they breath. Certainly it’s not in the drinking water. They can’t do that, legally.
Upon mentioning the village phenomena to a friend, I was asked if it’s age related. At the time I hadn’t yet deciphered. Further observation led me to conclude that all ages and genders appear to be equally affected.
Without delay, I do confess. I’m a people watcher. I can’t help myself. It happens more when I’m forced into slo-mo or lines. Keeps my skills of observation keen.
My initial suspicion regarding gait issues in the village was that there is quicksand mixed into the concrete. Or an element of it. Such is the sluggishness of all who enter.
I employed technology and scientifically sound methodology. On a sultry morning I began my mission. Holding fast to my Jeep door handle I extended my right leg over the curbstone. Stepped my great toe gently onto the concrete. Exerted a measure of pressure so as to sink if it would. Let go of the door handle. Hopped up and down on both feet like kangaroo. Hard as rock, that sidewalk. So much for exact science.
My toes and flip-flops hopped themselves into the Jeep. Traveled to unrivaled Narragansett Town Beach where they happen to have their own gate issues. On past the seawall to Hazard Rock. My legs dangled off a cliff ledge over the sea alongside a couple of non English speaking fisherman. No gate issues here. Clean, wide open ocean if you’re up for the climb.
This is almost heaven.
These sidewalks, though are haunting me. During my previous residency I noted a mysterious occurrence. Undoubtedly it’s due to a satellite controlled switch. Set daily to 5 p.m. auto sidewalk roll-up. Earlier sunsets led me to take my curiosity to a clandestine level. Perplexed, by dark of night I stalk deserted streets in search of answers. Only I and the Barred Owl perched west of The Tavern By The Sea know what’s what and who’s who in the pale yellow lamp glow.
We wondered if it’s due to an adhesive quality to the surfaces. Perhaps applied as they’re rolled out each morning. Owl as my witness, dark roast in hand, 4:00 a.m. I venture out. Wait sipping for the roll out. Slick as new bowling balls. Not a lick of sticky business. Confounded!
Even athletes, cyclists, runners proceed in painfully slow-motion. Kayaking is popular, but a speed sport? These waters are still.
Sluggishly I perambulate the village. It’s communicable.
A lone Mosquito embezzles my blood as I consider an evening dip over by Gardner’s Wharf. Leaves a torturously slow itch lasting weeks. July’s Full Buck Moon halted mid-sky. Lolled there in the heart of a fog behind End O Main’s Old Glory as it flew in the wind. All the while I ran home for my Nikon. Up three flights, down three and back. Old Buck Moon didn’t budge an inch. The most eerie shots appeared later on my screen.
Here, morning dew lingers on errant crabgrass blades all the live long day. Heat stricken bees hesitate poised, hover above the petal. Give the camera a real treat before sinking into their pollen abyss. Ten thousand minnows slow-school the surface at the old town dock. Cormorants surface. Dive. Gone bird. Resurface across town. Found bird. Fiddler Crabs burrow into green-black mud under Hussey Bridge. Cease their fiddlin’ as we step.
Disappear altogether. We still our feet, watch over the rail. Viola! Fiddlers reappear!
Near the library path, sleeping peacefully still, a white duck.
Clustered Black-Eye Susans draw my eye. Hummingbirds chirp, quarrel, swoop high for the naive insect. Protein to muscle up for the next leg south.
Mourning doves coo at the window, the pair. Their color we chose for the dream, 150 Schooner. For what or whom do they mourn?
Our song, though we share, sir cardinal has yet to visit my upper deck. Alas, he’s unhurried.
People mosey, stop for nothing at all. Settle on benches. Placidly say hello. Dogs prod, never pull.
Sails furl. Motoring in. No wake zone. Still waters run deep.
By my lofty window I smell the pungent sea just now, as I write.
I pause. An unguent of misty air on a soft southern breeze sweeps you back to me.
This is almost home.
This is Wickford.
This maybe I can learn.