The first leg of our trip was to see my husband’s family in the Midwest. My sister and brother-in-law live on the shore of a lake, and for over twenty years it has been a fave holiday destination, that stretch of water similar to an ocean, although smaller, and with more distinct alterations. While the tide doesn’t change, the water goes from calm to choppy, at times silent, often with a roar similar to waves breaking along the California coastline. The best part of the lake is how easily accessible it is, just another part of the backyard.
Perhaps to focus only on one small section of water seems incongruous with today’s title, yet for this West Coast gal, upping sticks to the center of the country, even if for only a few days, is a major trek. Then my world is widened by the embraces of relatives, their camaraderie and kindnesses further expanding my heart. My sister-in-law saved little plastic animals we sent to her daughter, and now those toys are in my living room, waiting for another generation to claim their delights. The Burrito loved playing with them, and I expect Little Miss and Grandmaster Z to find them just as fantastic.
I did no work while on holiday there, although I picked my brother-in-law’s brain for my next novel; he’s a builder and offered plenty of advice for the basis of the next tale. I didn’t think much about The Hawk either, spending my time chasing after my grandson, walking the neighborhood with my other sister-in-law, or reveling in the peace offered by such a grand spectacle, be it dawn,
or late at night.
A good friend of my daughter’s drove from Indiana to visit; I’ve known that young lady since our days in the UK. I chatted with my nephew, who I hadn’t seen in ages, and I observed my husband and his two sisters, how much they are alike, and their differences. My youngest, her partner, and The Burrito were also in attendance, how blessed to have several generations together at once! My husband’s mom turned 90 earlier this year, and it was great to see her with her great-grandson.
The Burrito also found the chickens a thrill; this place was like a wonderland for him, much as it has been for my children since they were his age. And that’s another part of the expanse, memories being added as new family members are introduced to this magical land. Sitting on the back deck, listening to water lapping along the shore, I found myself transported back to my first visit here in 1992; I was pregnant with my youngest, had never been west of Colorado. Every time I return, it’s a mix of the past and present entwined, which increases the sense of how big is that moment, like my entire life has been spent near the healing waves or peaceful stillness.
Packing for the next leg of my journey, I recalled highlights; admiring stars in the night sky, taking my grandson for walks around the park, fantastic conversations with those I love. While travel expands my sense of planetary scope, it’s time spent with my nearest and dearest to affect me the deepest. And when these two notions are aligned, it’s as if time has no meaning, nor age, which I am finding a bit distracting, harrumph. Crawling around the sleeping loft of the garage house, where my husband and I stayed, will be something for our children and their partners for next year. And again my world is altered, as aging allows other traditions to emerge.
I might recapture the sense of being in my mid-twenties, but truthfully that was half my life ago. And accepting one’s age is part of evolution too. Years accrued elongate the horizon; perhaps age is a bigger element than I’ve ever previously noticed. But it’s not overtly troublesome, other than making sure I don’t bump my head on a low ceiling first thing in the day. For at night I can peer through trees, watching the sunset’s glory, the gentle hum of familiar voices announcing a perfect close to the day.
Summer holiday doesn’t get much better than that.