The admonition from health and government officials that everyone stay in place in order to curb the spread of Covid-19 suits my husband and me just fine.
Many friends have expressed concern about us, as we are living in the Peconic Landing retirement community, where several residents in a skilled-nursing wing of the main campus have fallen ill. Chris and I, however, are nestled comfortably in an ample cottage some distance from that facility, and we have kept ourselves snug as bugs in a rug. Indeed, we have not seen anyone or let anyone into our quarters for nearly three weeks!
For the first two weeks of isolation, my only jaunts outside the cottage have been solitary walks to look out over Long Island Sound, following a common thoroughfare at Peconic Landing called Thompson Boulevard. Almost every house appears empty, but there are many daffodils in bloom. I wonder where the residents are? Perhaps they are snowbirds who had gone south to North Carolina or Florida?
Over the weekend, however, we were tempted out of our snug abode by an email from a friend and neighbor, who recommended a private getaway drive to the end of the North Fork, out by the ferry terminal at Orient Point, and into Orient State Park. Ever watchful, this good fellow had the presence of mind to warn that our car, a 2006 Honda hybrid, had batteries that required recharging. We took his advice and not only recharged the car, but ourselves.
It was a treat, although the ospreys — which, I’m told, have already been spotted on the South Fork — were nowhere to be seen; I’d always heard that they return like clockwork on the first day of spring.
The drive was nostalgic. I was living in East Hampton and Chris at Connecticut College when we were first dating, and we took many trips on the Cross Sound Ferry between Orient and New London, sometimes in the company of my wonderful big dog, Mookie.
I don’t think we had ever bothered in those years to get off the main road and turn into the long, lovely, and deserted state park road. This time, we followed it past a ranger’s house, comfort station, and big parking lot — almost empty, but for a handful of people we saw in the distance, who walked along at one end beyond the trees.
The quiet, pond-filled landscape seemed to beg for canoes or kayaks, and we were enlivened in mood and spirit. Emboldened, we turned onto a short residential street that had a “Don’t Enter” sign, and went down a dirt “fishing access” roadway that more or less paralleled access to the ferry. We parked, and I sat on an old-fashioned, two-person wooden swing that seemed to invite us to “stay in place.”
These are hard times, but they are not without their beautiful moments.