Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

If I had more time, I might write in more detail about my summer vacation activities and how I see them as metaphors and/or lessons about larger life.  But soon I must lace up my running shoes and greet the sunrise.  After that, it's time to head back to work, a day of many meetings, where vacation will be but a happy memory.

I'm grateful to have happy memories.

Here's the short version of that classic writing prompt, to talk about one's summer vacation.

--I thought about cleaning the house, but decided I'd rather spend quality time with the people I love and spend quality time in creating.

--My spouse and I worked on our fountain project, which meant we spent fun times planning how to mosaic ceramic, buying supplies, and working on the project.  Fun!

--We travelled to the Northern Virginia area to spend time with my family.  We had a great time on Wednesday of last week relaxing and eating a wonderful dinner at my parents' house.

--We spent half a week sailing the Chesapeake.  My sister and brother-in-law have a sailboat, and they're kind enough to invite us along.  We've gone sailing with them for years, and the last several years have been great in many ways:  better weather, adventures anchoring out, and my nephew.

--I got to read great books.  More on that later--but if you haven't read Patti Smith's Just Kids, go out and get yourself a copy.  It's fabulous.   It made me want to stay up all night, creating art in a variety of mediums.

--Since I was with my nephew, I got my wish, in a way.  We created all sorts of things:  drawings, paintings, costumes, super powers (my nephew kept saying, "Make me a super power, Kris"--there's a poem here somewhere), photos, festive meals, imaginative play, stories . . . what a treat.

--I also got to spend time with friends, which is always important.

--I learned to drink my coffee black.  Actually, I'm still learning.  But for those of you who knew me in the olden days, when my coffee was really liquid dessert, you would be amazed.

--I remembered how much I like swimming.  I spent my vacation swimming in the ocean, swimming in the Chesapeake Bay, and swimming in clear swimming pools.  I must do more swimming.

--I proofed the galleys of my forthcoming chapbook.  I'm still pleased with the book.

--I needed a quote or a dedication for a blank page in the beginning of my book.  A bit of panic ensued.  What to include?  I quickly ruled out dedications:  too much risk of sounding snarky, too much fear of leaving someone out.  So, on to think about a quote.  I looked through books of poems that have been important to me, through work by Tillie Olsen, and finally, I found the perfect quote in Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex.  It was fun to revisit that classic text, which I first read the summer after my sophomore year of college.  That summer, I commuted to downtown DC and had lots of time to read on the Metro system.  Thank goodness for my 19 year old self, who read that book and underlined and made notes on the first pages, notes that my 45 year old self would find when desperately searching for a quote.

--In fact, I feel like I spent much of my summer vacation discovering aspects of myself that had gone underground.  I immersed myself in books, the way I so rarely do these days.  I started running at the beach again--what a treat to see the sun rise over the Atlantic as I make my way along the Broadwalk.  Why did I let go of that habit?  I spent time scampering along a sailboat and swimming in the Chesapeake--it reminded me of long ago days, when I was one of the backpacking counselors at Girl Scout camp.  I felt physically strong and capable during my summer vacation in a way that I haven't lately.

So now for the real question:  can I carry over some/all of these good practices into my "regular" life?  That's my plan and fervent hope.


Kathleen said...

What a great set of vacation activities! Of all sorts!

Wendy said...

Welcome back!

Dave said...

That does kind of sound like the ideal vacation (aside from being much too short, of course).

Kristin said...

Thanks, everyone, for reading. I'm happy to have had some wonderful events to make great memories--I'm trying not to be sad that they're only memories!