Saline Tide Marks

Lying under the blades of the ceiling fan last night, with a second blowing air in through the window, I couldn’t believe quite how hot it was. Even after the tremendous thunderstorm which blew through the city, the air was still heavy with moisture.
It felt like a scene from Apocalypse Now, only without gun toting Marines…
At least despite all that I slept deeply, having been unbelievably tired over the past days (and still feeling it).

For days we had been told that it would be hot and stuffy today, and we knew full well that we should hit the road bright and early before the worst of it came on with the midday sun.
But, being Jack and I the somewhat lazy and largely coffee dependent pair, we enjoyed a slow, leisurely breakfast with a lot of pancakes and delicious homemade jams, and good conversation with our hosts.

Eventually, and far later than we would have left normally, we climbed onto our saddles and peddled off into the very, very hot day.
The sweat literally ran off me, and I could barely wipe it away fast enough before it started beading and running again. Not since Japan has it felt this humid, and soon every item of clothing was drenched in sticky salty sweat. Whenever I cycled behind Jack, I had the fortune of seeing the salt marks stark white against the dark of his shirt and shorts
Even with a tailwind behind us for most of the day the heat was so much, and I was still feeling so inexplicably exhausted that every peddle stroke felt like it used my last bit of effort.

The route itself was largely uneventful, following a series of dirt tracks and roads, and stopping only for sandwiches and to quaff a bottle of ice cold lemonade from a supermarket. After only 50 miles though, we decided to pull into a small town park. The town was small, but the park was one of those strangely large areas, with two baseball pitches, two enormous covered seating areas, and assorted other parts that I cannot imagine a small town like Pewamo ever really using. But with its perfectly soft grass and huge space, this made the perfect spot for us to camp for the night.

The first hour we simply sat slumped on the shady benches, recovering from the heat. Before we could motivate ourselves to get up though, an elderly couple came rolling up the grass on a golf cart, a dog wedged firmly inbetween them.
They barely slowed as they said their greetings, but before they could get away I sprung up and asked if it would be alright to camp here overnight. Or rather I shouted it, as man just kept repeating “what”, as the lady sat and smiled.

It was hard to gauge what was loud enough for the man to hear, before it became loud enough to sound aggressive. But I got the meaning across, and he seemed to think it was fine.
In fact what he actually said was closer to “sure I don’t see any problem with that. There’s bathrooms here, and at least no one will come and molest you. If you want a bath, Stoney Creek is just over the road. I’m sure you’ll be fine”.

Thankfully no one has come to molest us, and we spent a lazy evening remembering how to set up tents and cook, until the sun went down and the fireflies began to dance in their hundreds amidst the grass, rising like little burning embers into the air.

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  1. Fireflies! In their hundreds!! I haven’t seen them for years. They are very picky about water and will not live without clean, unpoluted water. Lucky to have seen those!

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