Going Away to Come Home

I can see the lake from my bedroom window. So many times I’ve found myself in the far reaches of this state I’ve always called home and every time I am soothed by the quiet, the tall pine trees, the smooth view of endless lake. The cool air, the long slow sunset, the immediate sunrise and melodious song of morning birds. All of this wrapped in a week away from tasks and to do lists.

                Once, it was Interlochen and a small rented rustic cabin with John, my first love. Late October, the air colder than anticipated. I slept in a man’s brown sweater and the arms of my college boyfriend and not a sound occurred in the night.

                We ate in restaurants and canoed glass-still lakes and walked on silent, pine-needle carpet of forest trails. And I listened to his boom-deep voice and wondered where we would end up, was our love real enough to last.                It is sixteen years since that weekend escape and I am a mother of three young children alone in the

northern territory. But I am not lonely. I was my loneliest as a married person and as a single in my yearning 20s. I am in love with the moments now and there are many.                I am at this moment and truly, I do not want to exchange this any detail for another.                Is it fear to not want to fold another into this tight perfect circle? Or contentment? My muse insists I must not seek to satisfy every problem at the same turning moment.                 And my children watch a movie I have seen before, and I recite lines to their increasing frustration and I smile to know that I’ve lived more moments than I can count.

                The sailboat at the dock beckons, its sails tied up tight, its sobriquet painted in delicate swirls on the hull. Behind closed eyes, I feel the wind’s pull and the luring fingers of the tide and freeing crest of waves.

                How the sun dances on my nose in the coolness of a confident sail. Where I am right now … it is good. The fear of the unknown paralyzes; I will not give in to the swell and pull. The clarity of a new morning before me, understanding nuance of lawn and pavement, hill and cliff, tree groves and deep, deep lake.                Sometimes our path is not as clearly outlined as we had imagined. Sometimes it is the unexpected turn in the road that is the best journey yet.                When I was a graduate student in the hills of

Vermont, it was the same exhilaration of serenity, the same brilliance of forest paths, the same anything-is-possible in yet another morning to arrive every single day. How are we to know when we are ready and for what?                The movie plays, familiar and still exciting. It is time to see. It is time to walk with open eyes.

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