Yesterday we went to our local metroparks with friend G, who I met years ago when she taught me and my SIL how to bellydance. G had invited several friends to join her for a nature party at the park, with the idea that we would do some birdwatching, beading, seed trading, and get in a little hike. As it turned out, we were the only ones able to attend, so I guess it was more of a nature “date” than a party. No matter.
The girls and I got there in the early afternoon to find G on a lawn chair, with a nearby picnic table laid out with items for our afternoon. She had brought a beautiful laminated bird identification guide, which helped immensely since my guide was an unwieldy National Geographic tome that was not particularly novice-friendly. We had binoculars, and took turns watching a female blue jay and a few robins hard at work. The girls also spotted several butterflies and damselflies.
After a quick snack, we got out our beading materials and made necklaces and bracelets. I never knew how to attach the findings properly, so this was a fantastic little lesson for me. G was generous enough to send us home with not just our jewellry, but also several crimp beads which I never understood how to use before (and therefore didn’t have any in my collection of supplies!) As I have come to learn, crimp beads are pretty much essential to making jewellry you can actually wear.
We also traded some seeds; I had several extra packets of basil and borage, while she had some interesting baby zucchini and some coriander/cilantro. Then the girls were insistent that we went on a little hike, so we put our things into the cars and walked down the asphalt trail.
It was really hot out, although the shady path and breeze made it bearable. But the girls were thirsty, and after just a short while of walking they started complaining. We kept encouraging them to keep going, and bribed them with the promise of a big, cold drinking fountain a little further down the trail.
The drinking fountain ended up being a lot further than either G or I remembered, however. And just as we were about to wonder if it was a figment of our collective imagination, we rounded a little bend and saw the familiar kiosk area of Halfway Point. Water! Benches!!
We also saw something in the middle of the path that piqued our interest:
“Write Yourself Here”?? We went closer to find out what it was about, and discovered a typewriter in the middle of the trail. Yes, a typewriter– a real one, with a ribbon and the little “ding” that chimes when you reach the right margin. A manual carriage return. No backspace key.
We discovered the typewriter belonged to a woman named Maya, who calls herself the Type Rider. She is riding her bike, while trailing this typewriter and its host table on a little trailer behind her, from Massachusetts to Milwaukee. Along the way, she is stopping in smallish towns and talking with people and asking them to poke out a few words or sentences on her turquoise machine.
Maya was talking with a few other ladies who had stopped to Write Themselves Here. She was very gracious and asked the girls, who were practically jumping to try out the machine, if they wanted to type something. S8 wasted no time in sitting down.
She tried out a few keys by typing her name. It was work for her to press them hard enough to get a good impression on the paper, but she managed. She wrote:
I love thiis typewritee r!111!!!
Then O6 had a turn. She was a little unsure of what to say. Poor kid had a serious case of writer’s block.
Finally, she wrote:
O6 was he re.
(Of course, she didn’t call herself “O6”, but that’s beside the point.)
After that we talked with Maya and a friend of hers, whose name I have completely forgot. The friend had been talking with G while Maya and I were discussing the project, and now she asked me how G and I knew each other. When I said she had been my bellydance instructor long ago, everyone’s ears perked up and they started asking lots of questions. So G ended up doing a very impromptu lesson in the park, and a few other people gathered around, and pretty soon about eight of us were doing (bad) hip circles in the middle of the path. It was quite incredible, actually. And I would have taken photos, but I can’t do hip circles and operate the camera at the same time. Pity.
Safe travels, Type Rider.