Monday, March 4, 2013

Day Four at Hedgebrook: Getting Stuck

Getting stuck: There are many ways to get stuck in life. I'm currently stuck on a manuscript, 1/3 into the story. It will be fixed with a good outline and some clear thinking...

At Hedgebrook Writers Retreat on Whidbey Island (off the coast of  Washington), accommodations are available for people with mobility needs. Since my ankle can be unpredictable, especially on uneven surfaces, I decided to try the motorized scooter they keep on hand. It didn't have headlights, so at night, it was back to flashlights and walking (which caused no problems). But in the daylight, it was great on the bark/gravel paths beyond the cottages. So one day I decided to go exploring. Off the beaten path.There are so many beautiful walks you can take there. 

"All trails lead downhill," one of the staff said. Well, not exactly. Some are fairly flat. "You can't be lost for more than half an hour or so," she added. "You'll always find your way back to a familiar path." They didn't know who they were dealing with. 

Perhaps they should have given me a tracking device. You know, the kind criminals have to wear, or skiers who are going in to the back country where there is avalanche danger. The kind some parents are starting to put on their toddlers. 

Anyway, I was zipping along, loving the cool, damp air, and the beautiful forest, and exploring new territory. There were layers of fallen leaves in many areas, and before I realized it, I had driven onto some leaves that covered deep mud. And I got stuck. 

Oh, boy, I thought. Tried a bit of rocking, only got in deeper. Turned the wheels to the right, where the mud appeared to be less dense. No success. Tried to fill all the ruts with leaves to give the wheels some more traction. No luck. 

Then, on my way to find help, I decided to call my Finnish son because it was his birthday. I told him where I was, what I was doing, and that I'd managed to get a four-wheeler stuck in the mud. "They gave YOU a four-wheeler?" he asked, genuinely shocked. "Who put YOU on a four-wheeler?" 

Who knew he felt that way? What DO my children say about me when I'm not there?

"Well, it's not a real four-wheeler. It's just a motorized scooter I can use to spare my ankle," I said. 

"Oh." That seemed more acceptable to him. A "little-old-lady" 4-wheeled scooter. I could hear the relief in his voice. 

"Who put my Grandma on a four-wheeler?" 
 I found a gardener and we took off in a golf cart to find the stranded chair. "Happens all the time," she said. "Everyone's been stuck." I think she said that just to be nice. Anyway, we found the deserted scooter. Wish I'd taken a picture. I drove the golf cart back to the farmhouse and soon she appeared on the scooter. 

"You did everything right," she said cheerfully. "I got it out right away. I turned the wheels to the right, as you did, and then just threw all my weight forward and leaned to the right, and that was enough to get the wheels out of the mud." 

The scooter seemed untouched by the little adventure, other than a bit of mud on the tires,  and I wasn't any worse for the wear either, so the story had a happy ending. 

"Just another day at Hedgebrook," I'm sure the staff said.

1 comment:

Shaunda said...

I'm not sure I would trust myself on one of those contraptions in the woods, either! Last time I had "wheels" in the woods, they were on my son's stroller... and yes, we did get stuck! Trying to take one of those lovely "easy" walking paths at the Loon Nature Center in NH. (That was a loooong time ago, but I didn't try, try ever again... ;))