Thursday, October 1, 2009

Halve Maen, and Welcome To It

Will I ever learn? Is there ever an opportunity that I don't of my own accord mess up?

I'm just back from my daily walk, and my inner Paul Giamatti is p.o.'d. I drove to the conservation area, making sure before I left that I had the camera. I parked, gathered myself together, and of the camera thought - nah, I'll leave it in the car. I don't want to take yet another picture of fading asters and goldenrod, or of the river. Besides I'm in a hurry, my husband needs the car. Plus it's distracting to be perpetually aware of the camera in my hand as I walk. And no, I don't feel like putting it in my pocket - I'll know it's there.

I set off at a brisk pace, and eventually turned down the path that leads to an overlook of the river. I could hardly believe my eyes. Right in front of me, silently making its way downstream, was the Half Moon, the replica of Henry Hudson's 1609 sailing ship. Except for the kicking myself part, which was instantaneous, it was magical. It was pure serendipity that the ship should appear precisely at the moment that I should happen to be there to see it. Few people could have witnessed it at that particular point in its journey - nobody but me, some sparrows, and maybe a hawk or a crow. But of those species only I knew what it was. I waved my arm a few times in greeting, but I don't know that anyone on board saw me. Wow, I thought, Henry Hudson sailed up the river 400 years ago, and now here's his ship again going back down, as though all the intervening years never happened. Okay, it's a replica - but still. Damn, it was a beautiful image, it's imprinted on my mind now (yeah, I inwardly glower, as opposed to the camera). The smallish vessel slipped silently through the water, looking naked with its sails furled and masts folded. Against the dun river, the hull's painted hues mirrored the colors of the autumn trees along the banks of the Mimancanituck.

I bungled that opportunity, but when I got home I was gratified to see that something else I had previously messed up was now, in fact, happily salvaged and redeemed. I had seen a pair of shoes at Peebles that I really liked. They were marked down, but I hoped the price would go down further. I kept tabs on the shoes, visiting them a couple of times a week, and my husband joined in my madness and checked in on them for me too. I waited too long. One day - poof - my size was gone. I had missed an online print-coupon for 25 percent off. My bad.

Days passed and the shoes loomed ever larger in my psyche - and I don't typically get fixated on material things. I felt I must have them. On Sunday, I spent an inordinate amount of time obsessively trying to find the shoes online. Yes, my pretty, I could have them all right - but at full price, or thereabouts. I went back to Peebles and without real hope asked a clerk if, though the shoes were on clearance and any pairs in my size were likely gone, might it be possible to check if another store might have them? She expressed doubt but was very pleasant, and obligingly keyed in the information. Voila! the shoes were to be had, at the sale price, I could even use the coupon, and there'd only be a $5 charge to have them shipped directly to my home. They arrived today, my beautiful, comfortable shoes, and tucked inside the box was a $5 coupon towards a future Peebles purchase. So that minor misadventure of my own making had a happy ending.

Alas, the rare photo-op of the Half Moon is gone, but here are my new shoes.

Oh wait - my husband has the car, and the camera's still in it!

Thank goodness for google.

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