As Good As It Gets

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Yesterday was a perfect summer day.  David and I have been mostly engaged in activities that use our upper bodies since our return from that 13-day-lower-body-workout-test of walking close to 200 miles in 13 days.  We’ve been swimming and kayaking, not only because it was time to give our legs a rest, but also because it was so hot in the week after we returned home there was little energy left in me after doing whatever needed doing in the garden each day except for something cooling.

Yesterday we woke up in Scituate, Massachusetts, where I grew up, in the house where I grew up.  My sister Jeanne and her husband John were visiting from Virginia, and my sister Meg and her husband John (my three brothers-in-law are all named John or Jon; at one point early in our relationship David said to me, “Okay, I guess I need to change my name.”) live in the next town and offered to take us all sailing yesterday morning.

We met on the dock at the Yacht Club, where I spent my summers from the age of 9 until I was old enough to be working and giving sailing lessons, rather than taking them.  A school of small fish were “kippering” around the dock, flashing in the clear sunshine, the brightest, driest, coolest summer day we’ve had for weeks.  Outside Scituate Harbor we could see a line of small, silver-white clouds sitting low along the horizon in every direction, like a ring of good weather goddesses.  There wasn’t much wind, so we headed back into the harbor, out of the chop on the ocean, and “ghosted” around among the thickly moored boats of every type and size.

After lunch on the Club deck overlooking the brilliant day unfolding over the harbor, David and I took the kayaks out and headed into the inner harbor, slipped under a causeway bridge, and paddled through the marshes behind Peggoty Beach.  We watched a cormorant surface two feet in front of our boats and swallow the small fish in its beak.  We wound through the marsh grasses, birds flitting into holes of the steep mud banks as they rose out of the water in the lowering tide.

As we made our way back to the small harbor beach where we’d put in the kayaks, I stopped to watch the mass of boats lightly lifting and rocking in the water, the line of houses on the shore holding steady, the low clouds still sitting like beacons of good fortune on the horizon.

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About Grace Mattern

Grace Mattern is a poet, writer, mother, grandmother, partner, friend, family member, gardener, triathlete, hiker and for 30 years was the Executive Director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She resigned her position at the Coalition on June 15, 2011 in order to concentrate on her writing, while continuing to engage in the movement to end violence against women as a consultant and advisor. Her chapbook Fever of Unknown Origin was published in 2001 and her full-length poetry book The Truth About Death was published in 2012.
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