Finding the Familiar on an Old Stretch of Highway

Ann Kendall avatar

by Ann Kendall |

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On a recent Sunday afternoon, cabin fever got the best of my family and we headed out to see where the road would take us.

Our parameters were straightforward: It had to be within an hour, and the destination had to involve water. Because local traffic has been nearly absent, we pointed ourselves in the direction of the Chesapeake Bay.

As I angled the car onto a Maryland state highway, a song came on the radio. Within seconds, it was no longer the spring of 2020, but rather the summer of 1996, with the same song on the radio, except I was driving solo in a rental car and again seeking a view of big water.

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest and living for long stretches of time within moments of Elliott Bay and the Puget Sound, water was always a constant in my life. I walked daily in the salt air, and from almost any angle, mountains dotted the horizon. Even the gloomiest of days were fresh-smelling and filled with the constant rock and sway of waves.

When I moved to my corner of the East Coast, people advised me to visit the rivers or maybe a lake. But on the day in 1996 when I hustled out to rent a car at first light and winded my way to the Chesapeake, only big water would do.

On our recent drive, when I found myself in our trusty Subaru with my family and that song came on, I was reminded that the constants in our lives — the familiars — often change over time. The road, with some new pavement of course, goes in the same direction.

The view, once you get a glimpse of the water, is the same from a natural standpoint, though the clusters of buildings dotting it are constantly changing. But that long, flat line of the horizon doesn’t falter — it hosts the same gigantic container ships it always has. And the radio? Well, what was current in 1996 is now relegated to the station that caters to those of us looking for a little nostalgia.

Water is my refuge — it speaks to my soul. At the water, I am no longer firmly in the middle of my life, but solidly free of the supple sand. While eastern beaches offer vast swaths of sand instead of the tumbling driftwood of my youthful beaches, which was ideal for scrambling, the whiffs of salt in the air make me think I am picking my way carefully over peeling bark.

Water is familiar, but always changing — not unlike our world, and not unlike our bleeding disorders community. Water is adaptable and powerful — it seeks what it needs and reacts to unimaginable forces in nature; some days, it pounds, and some days it lies quietly to lap at our feet.

Water is the perfect mirror for life with a bleeding disorder — some days are filled with learning and discovery, while other days, we can’t slow down the torrent unleashed on us. But water, like bleeding disorders, always returns to quiet moments.

May the familiarity of a favorite song and some sand between your toes (hopefully soon) take you to your place of peace for the summer. I’ll see you again with more stories from the road come fall.


Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


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