Susanna J. Sturgis   Martha's Vineyard writer and editor
writer editor born-again horse girl

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Not Even Dirt Bikes Could Ruin This Day

July 21, 2005

Today was improv almost every step of the way: if I manage three hours of billable editing time, I'll be happy, but if not, tough patootie.

My writers' group meets for breakfast most Thursday mornings, these days usually at the Daily Grind in Vineyard Haven. I'm still euphoric about finishing "My Terrorist Eye" and seeing that it is good. Comparisons to God on the seventh day are probably pushing it. I hope I wasn't too insufferable.

Got home, worked a bit, made tentative arrangements to meet this afternoon with two editor friends who are visiting from Quebec; the mother of one of them is a summer resident. Went to barn, turned horses out, did midday chores, returned home, worked a bit more, met editor friends and the horse-loving daughter of one of them (the one whose mother isn't a summer resident) for coffee, delivered them to Eastville Beach an hour or so later, continued on to Oak Bluffs to buy beer, proceeded to barn . . .

I had riding pants on, the air had cooled considerably since early afternoon, but my Responsible Self kept reminding me that it was already 5:30, almost feeding time, I have, uh, a manure pile's worth of work to do, poor Rhodry was home alone, yadda yadda yadda.

Three decades of talking back to Responsible Self paid off: I saddled up and headed down the Stoney Hill Road, toward the state forest. At each fork in trail or road, when the choices were "head homeward" or "keep going," I chose "keep going." Feel free to try this at home: you may have to pull an all-nighter to meet that deadline, but the sheer joy of it all will make up for it.

The only downside was the small pack of pint-size dirt bikers who tore by in the opposite direction as Allie and I trotted down one grassy strip between the bike path and the woods. Allie looked askance but did not spook. Good Allie. Dust and exhaust fumes hung in the air as the staccato rumble faded in the west. Lately I have been pondering the myriad ways that many men manage to avoid dealing with the important stuff in life (a default that almost invariably leaves any women in the area with far more than their share of the load). As the dirt bikers -- virtually all of whom, at least locally, seem to be of the male persuasion -- tore by, I thought, Aha! Making noise as avoidance technique! Loud noises make it impossible to hear what anyone else is saying. Loud noises make it impossible to hear yourself think. If they go on long enough, they make it impossible to hear, period. If you can't hear it, did it make a sound? Excellent avoidance technique. No wonder so many guys seem to like noisy things: dirt bikes, motorcycles, chainsaws, diesel engines . . .

The sun was setting but the sky was light as Allie and I walked up the driveway of Stonehedges Farm, presided over my friends Elaine and Michael. They were enjoying an early evening beer; Michael offered me a Sam Adams and, when I accepted (knowing from experience that I could drink and ride at the same time), brought it in an elegant glass. Allie hardly fidgeted at all (very good Allie); we all watched the two Friesian foals play with their yearling brother while their mamas partly looked on but mostly grazed. (Need I say that none of the generalizations above apply to Michael??)

Eventually I rode homeward, down the hill to the woods that open into the dirt road that leads through Chicama Vineyards.

Elsewhere on this site you can read my "Ten Reasons Why I Like Living on Martha's Vineyard." Today might be #11.


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