These turbulent financial times mean that we, too, are staying close to home. We're doing a lot of cool things that we might have overlooked in years past. We've been to Red Butte Gardens concerts...the Museum of Natural History...more Farmer's Market visits, etc.
But, what is REALLY harshing my mellow this summer, is the fact that we are not going back to Maine. My family has a cottage on a lake there, that I've been going to since I was 12. The trips have always been more like a military exercise with the twins--the flights, the rental cars, and such. The cottage is small and the lack of privacy prevents most efforts at romance. But, it's the reality of standing on the dock--the familiar humidity, the smell of the sweet ferns and pines--that sets me at rest. Our sons love it so much because it's breakfast, followed by a full out run off the dock and into the lake. (It's the same after every meal.)
Then there's the simple joy I get from showing Erin my old stomping grounds, like a hidden light house on the coast, protruding from some barnacle-encrusted rocks in the stormy Atlantic. Or, introducing her to the descendants of the loons on the lake that I knew from my childhood. Maybe it's the taste of the winter green growing on the forest floor...it all makes me feel proud to share it with her. (Erin also likes the fact that the state is crawling with lobsters. And I mean that literally.)
On every trip, I will find myself alone at some point in a canoe...floating in a pond surrounded by pines and sugar maples. The air is still. The water, calm, and covered with lily pads in bloom. Dragonflies perch on the fragrant petals. The fishing rod in my hands is at rest, as I have one of those moments that tells you: I remember this. I understand this, and I could not be happier than being here--right now.
The boys and Erin will miss Maine, but we keep the family activities fun, so they're having a great summer, like I am.
So, on this year of "staycations" I have much enjoyed the task of walking my older brother Scott through the adventures of learning to fish those lily-covered ponds, via long-distance charges. Which is a little like telling somone how to make love while you're serving a life sentence at Point of the Mountain. Scott's joy gives me great satisfaction and his pictures bring me closer to him and my memories of Maine.
There will be more trips to Maine, and I look forward to them already. We all have those places, near or far. And we should never give up the passion of the thoughts and feelings that draw us there.