Sunday, March 2, 2008

Re-tracing Steps

It was our first non-jet-lagged weekend in London, so we decided to head down to the coast and see Brighton and walk the Seven Sisters, repeating a walk I did in 2002, when Sofia was in NYC and Ellie wasn't even on the planet. That day still glows in my memory.

We got away a bit later than we'd somewhat optimistically hoped, and arrived in Brighton a bit after noon. Spent a little while on the beach looking at the waves and all the rocks (and remembering reading Graham Greene's Brighton Rock back in high school). Ellie in particular had a good time collecting rocks, climbing rocks, throwing get the idea.After a lunch of chicken fingers and chips, we headed uphill to the bus station to catch bus 12 for the trail head. This turned into an interminable journey -- apparently some local train line was out of service this weekend, so the 10 or so miles to Seaford took over an hour. I think we stopped at each possible bus stop.

Finally we got there a bit after 3pm. Between the clock and the steady 30-mph winds, it was clear we were not going to trek all seven of the Sisters, have tea in Birling Gap, see the lighthouse at Beachy Head, or descend into Eastbourne past the hotels of bygone English holidays, or have a dinner of fish and chips before catching the last train back to London.

Yes, the first time around Kurt and I managed to do all this, and see the Royal Pavillion in Brighton. Sigh. As if I needed the reminder, six-year-older knees and the addition of a child to one's life really do make a difference. I was chided gently by a grandmother on the return bus who reminded me how fast children grow, after I had mentioned how much further down the trail I'd gotten the first time around.

Great days really can't be re-traced: you really do have to savor them at the time. And yesterday, I have no doubt we did too.