Wednesday, July 11, 2012

the priorities of vacation

I was in Michigan all last week with my parents. I needed the time away so much! I am so thankful to have the opportunity to spend time each year in a place so peaceful and beautiful. I overpacked, as I tend to do, and took so many art supplies. I hadn't lifted a paint brush in weeks. I was so excited to spend hours with a table full of materials, no distractions, just hours to spend forgetting my constant to-do lists and focusing on colors and shapes and lines.

But I didn't paint anything. I decided that what I needed most of all was to spend time in the lake. In Indiana, the temperature swelled over 100 degrees daily, but in northern Michigan, the temperature was about 20 degrees lower, and the feeling of rays and sun and breezes were really the only things I wanted to concentrate on.

The sky is overcast in this photo, and I don't have sunny sky photos of the lake because at every opportunity, I was in the lake, enjoying it.

The lake was lower this year, and the giant rock that is the perfect launch site for floating on an inner tube or raft was easily accessible. I floated in the lake every full day I was there, sometimes for more than three hours.

At the beginning of the week, I couldn't easily fall asleep because I kept thinking about work. And when I slept, I dreamed about work. I am almost always focused on my job. I don't write about it here for many reasons, but it's a reality. The important thing is that by the middle of the week, I was sleeping blissfully for ten hours straight, every night. I needed to rest. I needed to concentrate on my family, and to focus on lovely things, like games of Parcheesi and Chinese Checkers, and searching for quartz and agates, and figuring out how many ways I can embellish vanilla bean ice cream.

One of my favorite memories from this trip is when my Mom woke me up at 1:30 a.m. She had seen flickering lights outside her window and wanted to figure out where they were coming from. What she thought was a stranger with a flashlight was actually a strong thunderstorm cell a few miles away. The sky is so expansive that we watched the light show from the yard, yet our weather was perfectly calm. We'd never seen anything like it. And without a tripod or even feeling extremely alert, I took decent snapshots of it from a plastic lawn chair. Here is my favorite:

I wished my vacation could have been longer, but I am grateful for the time I spent. More than ever, I am aware of the preciousness of every single solitary moment.

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