We have repeatedly found ourselves very fortunate guests of extremely hospitable friends. How gratifying to be received so warmly by friends from all parts of our lives. Visits with these friends have served as welcome punctuation points in our travels in Casa Blanca, and we have not had a single stretch of sleeping in the camper that felt too long. Next year, when we travel west, we will not have that luxury. For now, it feels as if the entire Eastern seaboard is our warm and cozy domicile.
Last week, “home” was a beautiful condo just a block from the ocean, where we were the guests of Lance and Dottie along with our friends Joe and Charlette. Prior to that, we had spent about nine days in Charlie’s parents’ retirement home, so we have had a rather long respite from our travels. That week was devoted to last minute preparations for Katie’s bridal shower. Throwing a party has always been a pleasure for me, and of course this one was very special. Now I can relax, and look forward to the wedding!
The last two days since we returned from the shore, I have felt melancholy. I’ve been trying to put my finger on it. Sunday was our first full day back in Charlie’s parents’ house, where we will spend this week while we regroup for our next month on the road. We had a nice, homey kind of day: we took a bike ride and visited Casa Blanca (she needs to be parked elsewhere while we stay here) then went out to lunch, followed by an afternoon nap. Late in the afternoon I painted for a couple of hours, and then we went grocery shopping and made a delicious dinner together. A perfectly satisfying day, but I couldn’t shake this feeling of sadness, even after I thrilled myself with my first attempt at abstract painting.
Why this downheartedness? I think it is partly in anticipation of a longer separation from our loved ones when we head to Mexico for four months at the end of October. Another thing is that I have been missing my wonderful chorus, which represents the sense of belonging we feel when we live in one place and partake in a community. Beyond that, I think I am suffering from a touch of meaninglessness. Our lives are so immediate, of late. Each day has its beginning, middle and end, but nothing connects it to the next day.
We are forced to wake up each day and put meaning into that day. On some days that is easier to do than on others. Naturally, when I was planning the bridal shower, that was a personally significant goal that carried through from day to day. When that was over, I felt a letdown, exhausted from the buildup and the event itself. But after one couch-potato evening followed by a good night’s sleep, the next day I was good to go…..we packed for a week at the shore, had a great lunch in Philly with three of our four daughters, and headed to Lance and Dottie’s place, where, for the next week, our role was to be agreeable guests. I didn’t think much about the ‘meaning’ of it all during that week, although I did try to blog, and failed. I had nothing to say.
Of course, there is always something to say, but sometimes you have to dig a little deeper. I’m finding that it can be harder to dig when you are comfortable. Last week, when we were planning our days around laying on the beach and eating yummy meals, I didn’t uncover much when I sat at the computer to write. Today, it is a bit easier, because some of that good old-fashioned angst has gotten under my skin.
Yesterday, while I was painting, Charlie read me a NY Times article, which he correctly expected would resonate with me. The writer was lamenting the end of summer, tying it in with getting older, and ultimately reflecting on the meaning of his own life. I loved the article, and I want to share it (even though I was envious of the writer when I read it, since it stirred my own feeling of writer’s inadequacy after last week’s failed blogging attempt). After I told Charlie how much I loved the article, I asked him if he, too, found it inspiring. He said he liked it, but didn’t relate to it the way I did. “I don’t think about my life the way you do,” he said. “I just live it.”
My first reaction was: how did I end up with this man? Following that was the realization that what he was saying wasn’t completely true. He does feel angst from time to time, and I’ve seen him suffer. The difference is, most of the time he doesn’t reflect much upon it. I wonder, is there anyone like that who is a writer or an artist? It seems to me that suffering and tribulations are the fodder for creativity. But Charlie can write excellent legal briefs, so I guess it’s just a question of what you are creating.
It is yet another luxury for me to live with a person who can stay the sails for me while I focus on the rocking of the boat and the wind in my face.©