I’m going away for the weekend.

It may sound like no big deal; to me it’s a big deal. I haven’t gone away in a long time except to work or to see family. Neither are occasions for complete relaxation. But I woke up on Wednesday, looked at Harry as he stared at me, Pinky the Elephant in his mouth ready to be tossed from me to Henry and back to me and back to Henry—you get the idea—and I wanted to go right under the blanket again. Ditto when I came downstairs and Aussie wagged her tail, wanting her breakfast.

When I can’t look at dogs anymore, I know it’s time for a break.

When I make a big bow to Kwan-Yin and return inside because I don’t have the energy for one more service, it’s time for a break.

When I can’t put together the meal for Aussie—dog food, cheese, fresh water—it’s that time.

When I don’t want to go down to the basement to empty out the dehumidifier, it’s that time.

When I can’t look at emails, don’t feel like checking in with mom, don’t want to check up on Brutus the giant baby bunny who’s twice the size he was some 9 days ago when we found him close to death outside, it’s time to get away.

I look but don’t see the hummingbirds at the feeders outside, nor the red flowers courtesy of July’s foot of rain, and don’t even mention the word cooking.

You need to get away, a voice said.

Why? another voice said. I already live in such a gorgeous place if only I’d open up my eyes and take a good look.

You need a change, the voice insisted. A place where you don’t take care of dogs or do things for the house or answer emails or any of that. A place where you can look at something else.

Like what?

Like an ocean. When did you last see an ocean?

I can’t remember.

Go to the ocean.

I haven’t gone away alone since before marrying Bernie, unless it was to teach or to write or to see family. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be on my own and do nothing.

Who says anything about doing nothing? Go to the beach, window-shop, try a new restaurant or café. Sit and look out at the waves.

Like I said, doing nothing.

Are you afraid to be alone when you’re not working? Not being capable, not being valuable?

Before Bernie I traveled alone lots, didn’t think twice about it. It’s different now. I mean, whom am I going to talk to over dinner? Maybe I won’t bother with dinner, just eat a sandwich late afternoon and go back to the room.

Eat dinner in a restaurant, be a mensch. Bring a book. Order some wine.

I guess I could make some overdue phone calls.

Don’t make overdue phone calls.

The only vacations Bernie and I ever took were to Hawaii to see Ram Dass. We loved those times. It’s the only occasions when even he didn’t talk about work, his vision, the problems, all the stuff he always talked about. This is going to be a short weekend at the shore, and I’ll be alone. Storms again on Sunday. Who’ll watch over Aussie when she freaks out?

She’ll manage. You’ll be on your own in a new place. Anything can happen.

Or nothing can happen.

Which would you prefer?


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