Here for the Season

… I had the most extraordinary experience…
something to do with sun…couldn’t understand myself, really
You know, quite for no reason
I’m here for the season

I Went to a Marvellous Party
Noël Coward

What’s killing me here isn’t the social pace. It’s the bicycling! Unquestionably it has always been our wholehearted intention to bicycle every day once we made it to Hilton Head Island for the winter. And except for the day of our arrival late Saturday afternoon last that is precisely what we have done.  Never however did I imagine that the cycling enterprise would turn out to be quite so punishing! What clearly escaped my reconciliation is that bicycling at home for about 45 minutes (which was our custom) pales in comparison to bicycling each and every day on the beach under a cloudless sky in the unrelenting sun for upwards of two hours.  To my astonishment it has flattened me!  I am not the athlete I imagined!  It’s beside the point that we are at sea level and spared anything but the most inconsequential grade. Aside from being ravenous upon our return from the matutinal hike, after devouring a generous luncheon I end by succumbing instantly to the seclusion of my bed chamber for an unusually long recuperation.  I feel as though I were in training!  And the after-glow of the sun!  The fallout is unmistakable!

Having resolved the conundrum of my withering strength and aching limbs I am more than satisfied with the predicament in which we find ourselves.  I can for example think of many other less desirable alternatives to self-inflicted exhaustion. But really I had no idea!  With nothing much of importance clouding our agenda the bicycling has monopolized the focus of our day and tainted (admittedly in a good way) everything that succeeds it. Our only interlude in this obsession is a detour to Harbour Town for a strong cup of coffee, but then it’s back in the saddle.  Every evening as I stiffly perambulate about the apartment I mutter something about having to take a break the next day.  But nature compels us otherwise on the morrow!  The only expectation I have of a reprieve is if the weather turns.

We entered the beach this morning from an unfamiliar access point, one which obliged us to traverse an unusually wide swath of sand dunes before we could ride our bikes and even then the sand was still too mushy to sustain us.  At this southernmost tip of the Island where the land abuts a sound the water apparently doesn’t drain as effectively from the beach when the tide recedes as it does on the nearby open Atlantic shore.  As we pushed our bikes along the soft sand towards firmer territory we quelled our temporary inconvenience by chatting with a denizen whom we encountered.  She was walking her Labrador “Bo”, throwing a ball for him to fetch.  The townswoman, who is from Chicago, recently bought a place here.  We shared some good laughs about the commercialism of Thanksgiving and Christmas though it is obvious she is warming to the holidays with traditional enthusiasm even though her “hard bodied” children (as she described them) might not share her penchant for gravy and mashed potatoes.

It remains to be seen what further socializing we shall undertake while here for the season.  It’s not as though we are ever engaged in a social frenzy even at home so the expectation is not high. I am pleased we’re shortly taking in a performance at the local Arts Centre.  I can’t help but think that cavorting with people other than in a restaurant promises more return by way of distraction.  I am reminded of a prolonged visit I once had in Cape Cod where I ended being roped into playing the piano as background at a charity fund raiser.  We might become more of a resident than a tourist.