In a couple months, I'm going to Italy. For two whole weeks. I don't think I've ever taken two weeks off work EVER... except about 12 years ago when I was in the hospital, but that wasn't necessarily a vacation. In fact, it was pretty awful, except for the morphine-enhanced Welcome Back, Kotter marathon on the hospital TV. But that doesn't compare to a healthy two-week holiday in Sicily... I cannot wait.
But since I am taking that trip to Italy, I've had no other vacation time to use for any other trips this summer except for the few days in Brooklyn for the hot dog eating contest. But it's been ok because I have been taking weekly mini-vacations on the Haw River. After work or on the weekends, I've joined other folks tubing on the Haw in Bynum. It's been incredible.
I grew up around the Haw River in Burlington, but didn't think much about it except that we drove over it on our way to my grandparents' house as we headed north toward Danville. I really fell in love with the river and with Bynum in 1992-93 when Craven took me out to meet folk artist, Clyde Jones (see his paintings above) and to sit by the dam by 15-501. I just thought that Bynum was magical. Over the past ten years or so, I've unfortunately spent less time in Bynum with Clyde or by the Haw (except a few visits to Glencoe).
But latey, I've had the opportunity to go tubing about once a week on the Haw in Bynum. It's such an amazing experience, I don't even know where to begin to describe it. The craziest, most stressful day just melts away while lounging lazily in a tube floating down the river. The scenery is breathtaking and the water is so calm. My favorite thing is seeing the water reflected in the trees... which looks like little fairies. Usually we're the only people around. We able to see creatures such as damselflies, herons, and some little fishes. We've even seen a bald eagle. I like to zone out on the sound of the cicadas (which I called crickets growing up). I'm sad that it's mid-August and the summer will be over soon and I won't be able to experience the Haw like this anymore.
But until summer is over, I want to tube the Haw as much as possible.