From ocean waves crashing against beach sand to Lake Michigan waves lapping against cool sand as the sun sets behind a far lighthouse.

Water, water, everywhere.

I can honestly say that if I had to pick a vacation destination, I would be ok with just about any place that includes magnificent water.

There is something soothing, invigorating, hope-inducing, reassuring, encouraging about being on, near, in or around water. And I’m not talking about the murky, still, inland morass. The water I want to be near has to move, in and out, with vigor and purpose.

While I love the woods – tall trees, enveloping like the most nurturing embrace – woods near water are the combination I look for. The tall searing reaching for endless sky mirrored in the surface of endless water.

Since I didn’t grow up on boats, I don’t know where this love originated. Perhaps in the Great Lake State, my home, or perhaps it is something deeper and more innate than that.

With a fiery constitution, it makes sense I would lean toward the cooling immersion of water to speak to my soul. The mesmerizing lull of watching wave upon wave, the fear ignited by the realization that the water is so much more powerful than I, the life force, the gulp of air, the bobbing in waves, it is all so good.

Today is day 12 of my summer vacation, and I am feeling great.

The morning is cool and refreshing, windows open from the night, light fingering through the tall trees around our condo. It’s quiet outside, the only sound coming from the cartoon my 9-year-old watches on TV. (Sponge Bob)

It took me five days to truly let go of work and obligation, of drama back home, of expectation. And since then, I’ve been supremely on vacation, away, connected to my soul.

The other day, my husband spoke with a relative about becoming a minimalist, simplifying his life, realizing that all that matters is family, not possessions.

That’s what I’m talking about.

We go away to come home to ourselves. We go on vacation to gain some perspective.

And hopefully we come home renewed, refreshed, and smarter than we were when we left.

My husband awoke today and stumbled out of the bedroom to ask, “What are we doing today?”

Who knows.

I don’t need an answer and I don’t need an agenda. Just to breathe in the northwoods air and watch the children linger in each other’s presence.

Last night, my teenage niece and my three teenagers in their raucous laughter and histrionics could not get enough of each other in the loft bedroom here. Listening to them from the couch downstairs, I couldn’t help but smile.

It’s like the cardboard box that the birthday or holiday gifts come in; that’s what the baby prefers to play with.

We don’t need trappings of excess to make a vacation fun. We just need each other, and the silence of our surroundings, in which to hear, and speak, the truth.

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