It was a strange week-end, not at all what we had planned. We had planned to go to Luther Springs, a church camp in Hawthorne, Florida. I had downloaded directions. We knew it could be tough to find, but we could not have anticipated the problems we had.
We got to the area Friday evening as the light started to fade. We couldn't find the road that MapQuest told us was there. We drove up and down the last paved road for hours looking for it. Because it was dark, we were scared to go too far down each dirt road--we eventually tried each and every dirt road off the paved road.
By the time that we realized we couldn't find it, it was 11:00 p.m., too late to call anyone, if we could have gotten a cell phone signal. There were no signs: not one for the camp, not one for the road that branched off the other road that went off the paved road.
We finally went home. My spouse had made the whole drive up--almost 6 hours because of intense storms around Orlando--and the driving on the search for the camp. So, I drove back. I stopped at the rest area outside of Melbourne and slept for a bit. Then we kept going.
Along the way, we saw things we wouldn't have seen otherwise: two creatures who really did look like coyotes, country road darkness, deer, stars, lightning both up close and from a distance--the middle of the night sky was gorgeous across the state.
We got home around 6:30. We slept for a bit, and then forced ourselves to wake up so that we wouldn't get too far off schedule.
We were disappointed, but we had headed to the camp to celebrate its 25th anniversary. It would have been worse if we had paid for a retreat that we couldn't find. We decided to try to have the kind of intentional, "time apart," kind of week-end that we'd have had away.
We limited screen time and chores. We tried to focus on each other. We tried to treat ourselves gently, since making a 15 hour drive only to arrive home was a strange kind of stress. And for the most part, we were successful.
What did we do? In some ways, it was a normal-ish week-end. We grilled and swam in the pool. We slept. We went on walks.
But we also rode our bikes for the first time since December. We bought herbs and planted them. We took a car load of stuff to Goodwill. We bought our first digital TV and got it set up. It's a Smart TV, so we tried to get it to connect to the wi-fi, but it was starting to irritate us (and violate the limited screen time pact we had made), so we quit trying. We'll figure it out, or we won't.
The new TV gets much better digital reception than our old analog TV and converter box: no more getting up and down to adjust the antenna! We've joined the 21st century! And we got rid of a lot of clutter around the TV--thus the trip to Goodwill.
It's been a good experiment. We'll be looking for ways to integrate the lessons from our "place apart" week-end into week-ends where we need to do things like focus on our online classes. Stay tuned!
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