I think I don't vacation well. At least, not here. Not where I am now. Which is, ostensibly, on vacation.
I think I know why. I've been happy to be on holiday in France and Italy and Spain and Switzerland. I did my junior term in Britain and hitchhiked through the Scottish highlands (a long time ago, that was). And while it's true that I have harbored dreams of living among the garrigue in the unfashionable foothills of southwest of France (yes, of course in a small stucco house with a weathered outdoor dining table beneath a few olive trees--what did you think?), I know that such is fantasy and not a genuine five-year-plan.
But here, here where I am now, where I have been much before over the course of many years? My heart homes here.
Cape Ann is a little lasso of a place, ringed round with solid granite and a battering, beseeching ocean. Scree shatters in the surf and the surf roars back, an archetypal argument, a numinous thundering. The granite here grounds me. And I have not much, in my life, been grounded.
So here, I'm not afraid to lose my footing. I can pray here.
Here, I can live with all I've lost. And mourn, as nowhere else.
Here I entertain the mild ghosts and do not fear: my daughters as children lean and sprite, gamboling through a flower garden, cartwheeling into waves; a lost love lost for good, who crossed the sea that keeps me here; even my mother and father, thighs frothed in seafoam, skin slick as seals, my hand a snail in the shells of theirs.
Here connects with then and now, a weird hypotenuse--hope and wonder, hope and mystery. A tidal, variable triangle.
Here I am also all of a piece. I do my real and written work. I sit at my desk. I neglect nothing: the sales at Shaws, the Sunday service, the civic observance. I even sit on the dressy deck at the conference center, feet up at the fire pit, Bird's Eye plant gone, progress-forward, red blend in hand, windblown like a slack and landed sailor. I am still here in this here-ness.
Which I will leave, as must makes its muster in duty.
Not for long, not for long, I pray. I am granite-grounded here.