*Lyrics from Ghosts by On An On from their album Give In. I actually wanted to feature a different song, but I couldn’t find the lyrics or make them out well enough myself (which is my kinda music), so I chose their big single. This album was just sitting in the ‘highlights of 2013’ list on iTunes, and I really liked the album art. Sometimes it’s as simple (and stupid) as that. Album is great. Perfect to usher in a new, more relaxed end of summer feeling. Give it a listen on Spotify first. Then purchase and offer to do some errands by yourself so you can listen again.
For the past few weeks I’ve been on a mental hiatus of sorts. I’ve been letting go of my worries about the future, my melancholy about the past, my general anxiety about all things out of my control… I’ve been trying to, at least. It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a stress monkey, and the past year or so has been taxing. Don’t get me wrong, lots of great things have happened, but stress can mount even with positive change. So I took a break from thinking, from worrying, from planning, from participating. Sometimes that’s the best course of action while you’re waiting for time to heal all wounds, or whatever.
So, we had a vacation in two parts. Part one (which was actually two separate weeks, on in July, one in August) was in the form of hosting my niece for a summer vacation in the big city. She loves New York, and claims that she “hates the country” (which isn’t really true, but she’s ten, so it feels true to her). Getting to experience the city through the eyes of an exuberant and saucer-eyed child is uplifting, and really helped create the feeling in me that ‘yes, I live here!’ We saw museums, we walked too much (on an injured foot), we ate too much restaurant food, we listened joyously to the din that makes up city summer nights, we sweated, we laughed, we rode the subway like locals, we hung with my local sister, we made up fake accents and pretended to be weird characters, we (mostly she and my sister) sang karaoke, we shared an apartment too small to comfortably host guests, we bonded. It was a great distraction from my own bullshit.
We also signed her up for a sewing camp so she could learn to sew on a machine. Her birthday was in June, and she requested (and received) a sewing machine so that she can grow up to be a fashion designer (she’s already decided – I guess her 5 year-old designs on becoming a singing doctor are over). So, we offered to sign her up for classes, and despite the fact that the school wasn’t as professional as I would have hoped (they sort of skipped a section they promised because their instructor ‘called in sick’ on the last day of camp, and I didn’t find out until we were driving my niece back to Massachusetts), she met friends, learned to sew, and has new confidence, vocabulary and ability in the world of fashion. Nothing like helping a young person gain access to their artistic voice to make you forget about your own worries. Plus, we went to Mood, which was sort of like taking a movie buff to the Oscars. She was in heaven. I got to witness all of that. It was fantastic.
Part two of our summer vacation was a choice to revisit the familiar. We toyed with the notion of exploring new places – coastal Maine? New Hampshire? upstate New York? – but decided after I broke down in tears looking at vacation condos in a depressing unit somewhere in Maine that perhaps this year it would be quite beneficial to do something that we’d done before, and to visit a place I’d visited on and off for my entire life. On balance, Jeff is tired of the Cape (he’s a New Yorker, after all, so he grew up with very quick access to the ocean), but he conceded after he realized how much I was missing my native Massachusetts. I do love that man.
So, after we finished with our responsibilities for the summer, after we were exhausted from a second week with the glorious energy of a ten year-old, we went to the Cape for nearly a week.
It. was. amazing.
So peaceful, so still, so relaxing, so necessary. Sadly, we didn’t have the greatest weather – mostly a deep, dense mist settled over us for days on end – but we made the best of the diminished throngs of tourists, felt absolutely no guilt in sitting in beach chairs reading for hours and hours on end (I finished two books in 5 days), felt no compunction to do anything but visit the ocean at least once each day, packing with us (at times) illicit thermoses filled with wine, which was fine since we were a half mile walk from the shore. We could actually hear the ocean at night crashing upon the shore, the wind sweeping across the short pine forest, creaking and yawning, reminding us how incredible it is to hear the land instead of the humans who are living on it.
We’re back now, and our vacation is over. Sadly, our return to NYC was met with intense humidity, and grey-white skies, gross temperatures (it had hovered in the high 60s during the day on the Cape), and a rekindled awareness of the real-life responsibilities that were waiting for us come Tuesday-after-Labor-Day. We didn’t get a true ‘summer’ vacation in the sense of the weather, but we did get the relaxation of days that had no discernible schedule, no musts, no have-tos, no hurry-ups, no we-can’ts. I’m hoping that I can dip into these mental reserves replenished during our lazy days to rekindle my enthusiasm for reconnecting with my NYC world, for creating an environment where my own creativity is stoked, for searching more enthusiastically for a permanent home here, for landing, once again, to stay awhile.
More pictures, in case you didn’t get enough on instagram. xoxo