I took a solo trip to Martha’s Vineyard this past week. It was my first trip to MV, although I had been planning to go ever since I read a book set throughout the island over 10 years ago. I was worried I had made MV grander in my mind than it ever could be with a visit. Haven’t we all been disappointed in that way? Someone talks up a movie, a book, the newest and fanciest gadget? Then we go, see, do and are left with a feeling of betrayal – it didn’t live up to the hype. Would MV be the same?
Martha’s Vineyard wooed me. It lured me in from the book I read and then, as I explored each of the quaint towns, made me fall in love. It is unapologetically pretentious in some towns. The yachties were in full force in their deck shoes, khakis, colored belts and collared shirts. Their wives in elegant shift dresses and minimal, but I have no doubt costly, jewelry. The people watching entertained me for hours upon hours. I went to artist markets and talked with the locals creating beautiful, original pieces. I got to know the areas away from the major towns during my explorations and that is where I identified with MV more. Here were the hard working men and women who kept the towns running while the summer people came and went. I live in a community that bustles over the summer and becomes desolate during the winter. I am a year-rounder in my community and I recognized the same grit, patient endurance of the summer folks and perseverance in these people. I felt a kinship to them and it made me feel even more comfortable in my own skin – and apparently it is making me wax poetic a bit, lol.
During the five days I was in MV, I walked, and walked, and walked. Miles each day on cobblestone walks and sidewalks, beaches and dirt roads. But my biggest NSV (non-scale victory) was the hiking trail I did on Wednesday. Because I was using the bus to get around I had to time my hike to hit the bus returning on the hour, rather than miss it and have to wait on the side of the road for the next one. I set myself a goal of two hours and off I went. Climbing the first peak to the expansive overlook was only a small challenge and I quickly continued on. Once I passed the first loop where the first overlook was, I never saw another soul. It was like the trail was my private adventure and test of endurance for this new, lighter body. Down through scrub oak and amidst the trees before getting a peek at the ocean from a second overlook and continuing downward to the beach via dirt ‘steps’ pockmarked from rain erosion and neglected care. Yes, in my mind, I knew that each step downward meant that there would be steps upward – and considering I had been going down for quite some time, it was going to be BRUTAL! I made it down to a beautiful, secluded beach covered in multi-colored stones from pea to bread loaf sizes, very reminiscent of a trip I took to La Push, WA.
Enjoying a brief respite by the peaceful yet chilly water, I turned around and mounted the stairs and THAT is when my endurance started. Up and up and up and up. Did I really go down this many steps or steep slopes? Heart pounding and breathing heavy, I am not ashamed to say I had to give myself a pep talk a few times over the next 45 minutes. I only let myself rest briefly twice, enough to gain my breath and not pass out! At one point, I jogged a bit down one of the few downhill areas because it was getting close to the time where I would either make it to the bus or *just* miss it. ‘You got this. Push a little harder. Feel the burn.’ I broke free of the tree line and was at the road – did I make it? Was I too late and left sitting roadside for the next hour? Panting heavily and sweating profusely, I paused and took a moment to relish in the fact that I had just done 2 hours of almost continuous hiking on very rugged, uneven up and downhill terrain with ZERO knee pain. ZERO. Not a twinge, not a tweak, not a sharp painful reminder of the acute, immobilizing issues I have been dealing with for the past year. Instead I felt amazingly alive. I’m only at the start of my weight loss journey but this trip….this trip in its solitude but also sense of comradery with other year-rounders, was just what I needed. After this sappy revelation lasting all of 30 seconds, I looked up to see the bus rounding the corner. I flagged it down and boarded it with shaky legs. Onto the next exploration with a secret smile on my face for a NSV embedded in so many others.