I tore along the dirt road, the waning blue light of twilight making every shadow deeper and every hole in the road harder to see. My headlights illuminated the small road sign: Speed Limit 15 MPH, and I spared a glance for my speedometer – 40 MPH. Too fast, but I wouldn’t slow down. I had to get back.
My wife and I were camped in the Moose River Recreation Area in the Adirondacks, a wilderness stretching for miles and crisscrossed by rough, dirt roads. Primitive campsites were spaced out far apart along the roads, and ours was four miles from the nearest main road. We wanted seclusion and quiet, and we got it, but tonight, while sitting by the campfire after a nice dinner, we realized that we’d forgotten to bring enough water to the campsite with us. “Let’s just drive into town. It’s only 20 minutes away. There’s a gas station right on the main road.”
“You go,” my wife said. “We can’t leave the fire.”
So I hopped in the car and drove down the dirt road without really thinking. About a mile or two down the road, I realized that I had the headlamps in the car with me, so if my wife wanted to gather more wood or find a tree to go to the bathroom, she wouldn’t have a light to do so. But it wasn’t dark yet. In fact, twilight was newly fallen, and the eastern sky wasn’t even dark yet. I told myself she would be fine.
By the time I got to the gas station, it was much darker, and I was getting nervous. I grabbed a jug of water from the cooler in the back of the store, threw some money at the clerk, and pulled out of the lot.
By that time, my imagination was chugging at full speed, pumping out every unfortunate turn of events possible. What if she decided to go look for wood and became turned around in the woods, wandering away from camp instead of towards it? What if the fire got out of hand? What if some guys wandered by and decided to have some fun with a lone woman at a campsite? I’d read the seldom-patrolled Moose River area was sometimes known for partiers. I cursed myself for leaving her. I should have doused the fire and made her come with me.
Over the past two days, our trips from the main road to our campsite took about 15 minutes, carefully maneuvering the car down the dirt road, around rocks and potholes at about 15 miles an hour. Coming back from the gas station tonight, I made it in about 5 minutes, and as I skidded into the site, I cried out in relief. Linda was sitting by the low campfire, looking over her shoulder at me, evidently wondering why I came in so fast.
I ran up to her and hugged her, so thankful that none of my imaginings had come true.
She hugged me back and asked what was going on. I told her what happened.
I could tell my concern flattered her. She said as much, but she also pointed out that I wasn’t usually this concerned about her well being, and that I was probably really concerned about the baby.
I dismissed the idea, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized she might be right. She’s a strong person who can take care of herself. I know that. It’s one of the reasons I love her, so where did the terror I felt come from? I don’t like the idea that I’m more concerned about her because she’s carrying our baby. Shouldn’t my anxiety for her safety be the same regardless of whether she’s pregnant or not?
90 days until baby.