Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Why is this man smiling?
After a vigorous day mountain biking 20 of the 27 mile Acadia Park Loop Road and climbing a smaller mountain as a warm-up for Mount Cadillac, we drove to the scenic wonder known as “Thunder Hole” a cave-like crater bored into the side of a massive rock wall by the pounding of ocean waves.
And when the tide is just right, the combination of waves bouncing out of the large fissure combined with an incoming wave create a loud BOOM, like far off thunder.
Since it was almost 5:00 pm I figured it past business hours, so I pulled over at convenient parking spot reserved for tour buses located immediately behind ones reserved for handicapped parking.
A white mini-van with Virginia license plates pulls in front of me and parks in one of the three handicapped spots. Three precocious boys ages 4 to 8 tumble out of the car and the driver gets out almost as quickly.
He’s dressed like Washington bureaucrat on vacation and I think, “Yeah, you’re probably connected, so you can park anywhere.”
He bounds to the back of the van and pops the hatch like he’s done it a thousand times before, and drags out a wheelchair. Then he hustles to the sliding door, bear hugs his young daughter who looks to be twice as old as Kira, my 5-year-old (that I carry around less and less these days) and easily twice her weight.
Donna and Kira had sprinted ahead, so I hurried down the stone stairs to catch up. The next time I saw them, they too had descended the 100 granite steps to get out close to the churning waves. I then realized there was no elevator or chair assist. He had carried her the entire way, and they were holding each other as the waves performed.
Infrequently, a particularly strong incoming wave erupted into a geyser that splashed spectators--draped like laundry--over the iron fence. He had been smiling the entire time. As most folks shrieked at the sudden unexpected drenching, for the first time, safe in the arms of her dad, she smiled.
(Last night Amherst Town Meeting approved, with little comment, $80,000 to make the East Street School handicapped accessible.)