“So where are you staying?” the woman on the other side of the Avis counter asked as she processed our car rental. My husband and I had just arrived in Portland, Maine after a red-eye from San Diego followed by a botched connecting flight in Philadelphia. We were more than ready for our vacation to begin.
I started this piece a couple of weeks ago, and so I’ve recovered a bit more from vacation lag, but only slightly. The way things are going, the entire summer will be one huge vacation lag. When I’ve seen an email pop up about “cheap end of summer flights,” I’ve checked a few bound for Paris, mulling over the idea of going again without my husband to wander the streets and brood. Shoot more photos. Sit in cafes. Write.
And then I snap out of it because I’m not exactly 20 something and trying to find myself. I could be persuaded to do a bit of a makeover, however. Alas, recovery from the cost of our recent trip must also be considered, but I can dream, can’t I? I can think about all we’ve seen and done and wonder what we might do next should we venture to Paris again — we, because I’d never go without my husband. He has the Metro all figured out, after all. And who would carry my camera bag if he stayed home?
Paris takes on a special quality at night. Especially on a warm Friday evening. But it was lovely in the rain, and on chilly evenings as well.
I sift through the photos of our recent trip realizing what I often do. I wish it wasn’t over. That I’d like to be there now in so many of the places we ventured, the clock slowed enough to allow for the details I capture with my camera, then forget about until I upload them and begin to edit.
I glanced at the date on my last post knowing that much time had passed, but had no idea two months could pass so quickly. Suffice to say that life has happened in all its manifestations — some joyous, and others, far less.
At first, I gave in to the prodding of it all, enjoying a real excuse to not write, not take photos of our food, in fact, avoid climbing the stairs to my office to work for any reason whatsoever. Then, there was a feeling of relief, somewhat like that I experienced on my last day of work. It wasn’t a face down in the sand sort of thing, but still. Eventually, I began to notice a quiet nagging that inserted itself into quiet moments, reminding me I had work to do.
So what have I done in the time that has passed beyond missing the people I’ve come to know and love who enjoy food as much as I do without saying as much as a how do you do before dropping out of sight?
After a lifetime of wanting to visit New England in the fall, I can finally say I’ve done that. Starting in Portsmouth, NH, we traveled to Maine, Vermont, Upstate New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island with New Hampshire thrown in at least twice. And we’ve done it as a couple after so many, many years of vacationing with children and others. All wonderful vacations, absolutely, but there is something different about heading out with your sweetheart to see new places and things, enjoy great food, and good company — for almost two weeks. The grand test in life is to spend time with the person you made all those promises to in front of all those people years ago on your wedding day and know that you’ll laugh, share a bit of wonder and worry, get lost a few times even though you have GPS, and squabble, yet hold hands. Crying is in order as well if you’re anything like I am, for all kinds of reasons. Oh, the sheer joy of it all. The glorious beauty. I thank goodness that I am able to travel and see where and how others live their lives. It enriches me beyond all my expectations each and every time we set out to places unknown to us.
Then there is the post vacation, back to Earth recovery.
So much has gone on it’s been difficult to care about writing about food partially because it seems so trivial in comparison. In the meantime, I’ve enjoyed living life watching each day pass, busying myself with mundane tasks so I can mull over everything with the added benefit of seeming to be more organized than when I began. It’s been purposeful and restorative.
But I’ve begun to feel as if I’m playing hookey. Ditching class. Hiding out to avoid what’s required, yet missing what’s important.
You know. Work. It’s important.
So here I am. I’m back to work. I’m searching for the words and trying to explain, hoping it doesn’t sound like the proverbial excuse written on the tattered remnant of a receipt left in one of my reusable grocery bags. I’ve got recipes lined up waiting to be shared. Lots of them. And even more exciting — the discovery of a local farmer who delivers! Amazing.
But life is like that if we take the time to notice, isn’t it? Especially the very small bits and pieces.
Here are the bits and pieces of our road trip through New England.