Joy Revisited: Skating the Silver Comet Trail
So many times as an adult I have longed for the joy I felt during childhood. At times I find life as an adult to be a challenge as my own fears collect and hinder over time like pine straw in a skate brake!
How to recapture the giddy hysteria of childhood antics without the aid of mood-altering pharmaceuticals?! Should I go back to Bournemouth and find a white/blonde-haired kid with which to play hide and seek in the bleached stucco stair wells of the grand houses near the Winter Gardens? One of my sisters might oblige these days but they'd secretly think I was just a sad remnant of a previously well-adjusted person. I could say hang it all and move to the beach...any beach...and hope to recapture the magic of simply standing on the sand, enthralled for hours by the sun-sparkles on the water surface.
Thankfully these emotions from paradise reside within me and can be reawakened in landlocked activities. Many skates on the Silver Comet Trail have brought me an inundation of pure joy and euphoria. Depending on my state of physical and mental fitness at mile zero, it happens at varying points along the way. I will see a particular plant or field and instantly remember my Grandfather's garden in Hampshire, and along with that my Grandmother's face and the smell of percolated coffee. Happy days! Even though the plants, birds, bugs - and God knows, the weather - are different between Georgia and Southern England, they are similar enough to seem to welcome me back to life again.
With the blustery breezes blowing every which way around my face as I skate down the trail, I am not only reminded of larking about in the dunes with my sisters at Sandbanks, I am transported internally back there again, as if time hadn't passed and we had never left. The Cobb County sunshine becomes the Dorset sunshine. I'm the same peaceful person now as I was then and bring the optimism of a ten year-old from Poole to Paulding County, Georgia. What a wonderful gift! All that just from training for the fall skate events. That's worth all the entry fees right there!
I'm pretty sure nobody spiked my hydro-pack.
I generally do not feel this way skating road-events like A2A. Close, but not quite. That the trail is devoid of motorized vehicles seems to make all the difference. There were no motorized vehicles on the beach, in the Winter Gardens, or in my Grandfather's garden, either.
A cheery footnote: there's a new bridge on the trail! For 7 years or so I have not really wanted to relax until we had the fast downhill into a busy 4-lane road at mile 10 behind us. So many times I crested the hill before it, straining my eyes to see whether the authorities had actually bridged the very small gap over the road to join both parts of the trail finally, which would have eliminated our need to dip down, cross the busy road, and swoop back up to the trail again. I think after all this time I gave up hope. But last week we discovered there is a new bridge there! I couldn't believe my eyes! If, over the course of these past 7 years, there had even been crude wooden planks joining the path high above the road underneath, I would have skated over it. Or taken my skates off and walked across it. Such was my dislike of this particular road-crossing. So big thanks to whomever got the ball rolling on installing the new bridge! A very happy event.