The last few entries have focused on the lake, the wildlife, and the weather but have said nothing really about what we do when we are there. Oh, I may have mentioned a little though not in any depth. When it comes right down to it, what one does on vacation is more important than where one does it, to my way of thinking. Those activities are what make vacations relaxing, enervating, or rejuvenating. I can talk about what each person did, but my discussion about what I did is the only thing that is really valid since I cannot put myself inside another's skin or mind.
For me, the freedom to sit and read and/or stitch is an important part of vacations. Now that I am retired and have the time - even at home - to do those two things, they are not quite as important on vacations as they were when I was up to my ears with lesson plans, paper correcting, or reading for classroom purposes. But they are still an important part of my time; I would feel lost without the crutches of books and needlework so they are an important time of vacation.
So what is it that makes vacations now different from what they once were? In thinking about this question, I realize that is the concentrated time to pursue a passion. When away from home, the phone is no longer important. There are no washer/dryers buzzing for attention. Mailmen are not coming to the door, there are no appointments to be kept, preparations for meetings can be ignored, and spousal commitments are relaxed. AND there is no television (OK, there is a TV, but no one even thinks about turning it on). Even mealtimes are shared.
For me, this week of vacation allows me to sit and enjoy conversation with husband, sister-in-law, and brother. Conversation! How often do any of us have the time to enjoy a half hour of discussion with family and friends? It hardly ever happens any more. That exchange of ideas and that sharing of laughter with loved ones is very important to me.
For me, this week of vacation allows all of us to go off into various corners of the same room to paint or draw. Every now and then, someone will make a comment or pose a question or ask for a critique, and we all feel free to throw out an idea, or possible answer, or put down the paintbrush or charcoal or pencil to gather and critique a work in progress. There is total trust that even if the critique is not what we want to hear, it is both honest and thoughtful.
For me, this week of vacation means that my husband feels free to go off and follow his hobby in an area where he can succeed in finding what he is looking for. It is knowing that the search for him, is as important as the "Eureka!" moment. I know he is enjoying the search and is looking forward to sharing what he has - or has not found - with the rest of us. I know that this is as relaxing and enjoyable to him as my pursuits are to me. That adds to my pleasure.
Finally, this week of vacation means that I return home refreshed and recharged even if I have nothing to show for it. I have spent my time walking, swimming, drinking in beauty, painting, reading, and reveling in the company of people important to me.
And I have the time, once home, to reflect and realize what I have experienced and what wealth that experience represents for me. Can one be luckier than this?