Yachats, Oregon August 31, 2011
Gray jays and chipmunks are swarming around the suet cake and the seed plate. Now and then, a Steller’s jay swoops in to fill its face till it can no longer close its beak, then flies away to hide the stash; but the noisy blue and black “hat-birds” really prefer whole peanuts to the fare presented on my bird table. Another camper’s annoying mutt has started yapping…the birds don’t pay any attention, but I mentally muzzle it with its own leash, hog-tie it and throw it in its owner’s trunk.
This is Day Nine of MY vacation. Two weeks ago, with the last of the café woes and our big Scandinavian event behind us, I was desperate for rest. Husband, of course, was of a different mind. Every day, practically every moment, he had a project that needed doing. I dragged along behind him while we cleaned out the garage, emptied the truck and the trailer, tweaked the drip irrigation (all things I knew would need to be done in any case, if we were to have any chance at all of escape.) I even went out and bought a new vacuum (woo-hoo!) and did a little nesting in an effort to keep myself occupied while I waited for him to figure out we needed a vacation. Now.
But when the husband requested account numbers and passwords so he could start banging away on the year-end taxes (which don’t, obviously, need to be done until year’s end...) I threw in the towel. Evidently, I was the only one who was absolutely out of creative and functional gas. I hitched up my big-girl panties and announced, “I’m leaving next Tuesday to go camping. I figure to be gone through Labor Day. Would you like to join me for any or all of that time?” Kind of went over like a fart in church, I’m afraid.
Unfortunately, we are still in the place where doing anything together, including trying to plan or take time off, is impossible. We bicker about it and go to bed angry. Not the kind of fate I want to tempt right now. I’m too tired to be angry, too exhausted to fight. So I have put myself in “It’s All About Me” mode. I’ll make the plans, and if he chooses to join me, fine. Which is not much different from the way our lives have always been, except that I’ve always felt guilty about it. Not this time. Maybe not ever again.
We used to camp a lot, in our little 80’s motor home, when we had jobs that did not consume our entire lives, and we still found joy in being alone together. I cherish the memory of our favorite campground on the coast. The place with the creek and the pines and the birds that will eat right out of your hand, and the ocean right across the street. We’d make a fire in the morning and sit by it all day, drinking espresso and munching on goodies we had brought from the bakery I managed. We’d shell peanuts and feed the jays and the chipmunks. We’d go to the beach and throw bread for the gulls, walk for miles, filling our pockets with shells and stones and bits of driftwood. Then we’d head back to camp and perhaps burn a steak in the dark over the campfire; or we’d clean up and head to one of the little nearby towns to share dinner and a glass of wine next to a great window overlooking the waves.
This time, I packed my clothes, food, books, laptop and crafty stuff into the empty wreck of a trailer that we bought to get us and our equipment to and from events; hooked it to the loud, smelly beast of a pick-up we also acquired for the business that eventually ate our lives, and drove away alone. Headed, by god, for that treasured venue. Knowing, somehow, that it would be a place of respite and solace for me even sans my other half.
I had in mind immersing myself in writing and beading (my new hobby); reading and walking; a time to nourish my body, my mind and my creative muse. But it’s funny how the Universe knows what you need. Often, it turns out to be something completely other than what you thought you needed. Birds, chipmunks, squirrels and bunnies. Sleep and music and cooking over the fire. The cheerful company of my sister and her husband, who decided to join me one day into my solitary sojourn. Shopping and picnicking and eating pizza on the tailgate of my brother-in-law’s pick-up. These are the things I have needed. I have not needed phone service, or news, or an internet connection.
I have also not needed, as it turns out, solitude, time to think, or time to hone my creativity. Alone time brings me much too close to things from which I need distance, and I haven’t possessed enough creative energy to draw a smiley face, much less write anything worth wasting the time over. Being here alone would have been maudlin, frustrating and boring, and I’m so glad the Universe made sure I got what I needed instead of what I thought I wanted.
My sister and her husband have sprinted back over to Eugene to take care of some business, leaving me alone long enough to think too much and bang on my laptop for a few hours. I’ll take my slightly sandy computer out to civilization and try to find somewhere I can get a drink and an internet connection, so I can post this. I need to get off my butt and out of my head or I’m going to be in trouble.
And the husband arrives tonight, turning the last five days of MY vacation into OUR vacation. We’ll see how that goes. I’ll try to leave myself open to getting out of it whatever the Universe thinks I need.
Old Mill and New Approach
21 hours ago