Something deep within me has always knitted its eyebrows together to weave a face of confusion when I return home from a fabulous, relaxing, life altering, unexpectedly wonderful trip to find that everything at home is exactly as I had left it.
Even though this trip was the breath of fresh air needed to make peace with this tough year, the luxury and comfort we found at our little chateau nestled into the mountainside in Whistler was so much more welcoming than we could have imagined, and the eagles’ eye views of the Canadian Rockies taken in as we perched above cornices on skis were so much more awesome than the anticipation could have indicated, there was still laundry (washed and dried the night before departure but left, as the door locked, to be handled upon return) to fold.
How can it be that life can be exactly the same after a seemingly life altering occasion? One would like to think that the whole face of life would be different on the other side of the moment! So true, that it is only the underpinnings that have changed – the hand with which we handle our day to day is a bit lighter (or heavier,) our thoughts more enlightened (or dark,) and our intention more clear and determined (or cloudy and full of doubt.)
This holiday we our immediate little fam agreed “no gifts, no nonsense, we shall invest in ourselves and in our passion for seeing the world. It is the number one thing that we have missed most about not living abroad this past year – each day does not seem like quite the adventure when you are just another American in the rat race. Anyway, this meant packing my computer, scheduling video conferences with our extended family, and wrangling all of the elements of our ski ensembles, packing them into our little SUV, and heading north for a few hours…..until the suburbs turned into cities, the cities turned into forests, the American border melded with the Canadian one (by way of a few ridiculous questions that we agree could not have identified our intention if we HAD been terrorists) and then rising up and away along the sea, and into the sky, where we would stay and celebrate the season.
It was the most relaxation we had enjoyed all year, not to include our (third) honeymoon in Fiji last November. Then too, upon our return we found ourselves still camped out in the condo, our belongings still packed up in boxes in the basement still stamped by customs upon coming into the U.S. On this return home from abroad all of our boxes unpacked, our little house cozied up to the evergreens around it, waiting quietly for us to return and kick on the heat, light the windows, and fill it with light again.
I am just learning to really love the Pacific Northwest – I still miss the cane fields that surrounded our house in Okinawa and still find it odd to learn (upon returning home from the grocery store) that the house with a hat no longer is MY house with a hat. I miss running Rt 6, along the coastline until it ended with waves crashing on the reefs next to me as I whiz along the road on my bike, or cruise in my running shoes. I miss the sun, and the sand, and the simple life that all of those things comprised for me in my mind. Here I am met with rain, and highways that impede my direct access to the mountains. Sigh.
But this little house, just like the last, waits in anticipation for us. And as the light and heat of life have lit it again, our day to day has come alight as well. All of the projects we are spinning into 2010 have received their attention, belly laughs as we clean out closets and handle mountains of laundry bubble through the halls. (Apparently, D has enough dress socks to warm the feet of the entire floor of the NY Stock exchange and yet, he does business in running shorts.)
The “squirrel T.V.” that G spends most of the day watching out the living room windows are still bustling about, finding the peanuts that he and D place carefully for entertainments sake. The paperwhites that sprung unwieldingly from their bulbs while we are gone are righting themselves, pulling their delicate petals back towards the sunlight out the kitchen window.
And me. For me this trip was full of much needed clarity – of direction, of intention, of resolve. I no longer feel that I have to attack and conquer the forces of change, resist them in an attempt to keep things “mostly” the same as we ride the wave. It is so nice to sense that this cloud has cleared. I am not sure how mountain air, intense skiing, and playing in the snow resulted in this outcome, but I am pleased to find this relaxed me, waiting in her desk chair in the kitchen, poised with a whisk (and is that a scepter, a pair of running shoes, and a bottle of red nail polish resting in her toolbelt?!)
And I can’t help but think, that in some instances, the face of life itself does change, when the underbits are altered enough. By and by, life starts to look a bit different. Through the eye of the beholder, and through the holder themselves.
It is GOOD to be home. 🙂