Monday, August 28, 2006

Float On

My life's been a little scattered lately. There's the usual work stuff, the usual personal stuff, the (thankfully) unusual personal stuff, the stuff-that-blurs-the-line-between-work-stuff-and-personal-stuff, not to mention traveling every time I turn around. My suitcase has claimed a permanent spot on my bedroom floor, half-filled, either coming or going. Putting it away is a seemingly wasted effort.

In short, I needed a vacation. A restful vacation.

In Montana, I got that. There were no alarm clocks (save for Dad's internal clock that wakes him up at 5 am daily, even on vacation, and yes, I think it may be genetic), no tickets to a museum that had timed entry, no real need to consult a watch, not that I wear one anyway. And, once I discovered there was little cell coverage in the park, I left my phone at the hotel, thereby rendering me unable to determine the time without consulting the sun or my stomach, neither of which provided anything better than a rough estimate.

I didn't go to Montana to think. In fact, I went with the specific intention of NOT thinking. I think plenty as it is, thank you very much, and often without trying. I went to see a part of the country I've never seen before, to wear my body out hiking and to get a good night's sleep for the love of Pete.

Sunday afternoon I had a little time to myself, so I headed to the outdoor pool, InStyle magazine and iPod in hand. The pool was empty and surprisingly warm, so I ditched my stuff on a nearby deck chair and slid into the water. (Despite the fact that the pool was 8 feet deep, I abided by the NO DIVING sign because I'm good like that. I think that's genetic, too.) After swimming for a while, I flipped over onto my back, determined to relax and just float there, making as little an imprint on the water as possible.

It was surprisingly difficult.

I lay there, eyes closed, trying to resist kicking my legs or moving my arms. I allowed myself just enough movement to stay afloat, and that's all. The goal was not to make my way across the pool, but to stay right where I was.

I thought about how much I was enjoying being outdoors, hiking through the mountains, and how I never have the time for it, and I've got a whole western third of the country to explore. I should hike more.

I thought about the pie we drove through the entire park to get to because someone said it was the best pie around, and proceeded to eat it in the middle of the afternoon, and how I haven't made a pie since...well, since I lived at home, I think. I should bake more pies.

I thought about how this floating thing was actually pretty good for me, that ordinarily I am a Very Serious Person and tend to go up and down with each passing wave. I should learn to float more.

These things, they make me happy. Why don't I do them more often? I should spend more time doing the things that make me happy. But where am I going to find the time?

Then it hit me: on the weekend. That's where you'll find the time, silly, on the weekend. You can hop in the car, drive six hours and spend two days hiking over a weekend. You can devote an entire afternoon to baking a pie (with crust made from scratch) and cleaning the kitchen on a Sunday. You can spend two hours running and doing yoga at the gym on Saturday mornings. It's the weekend, stupid!

Rejuvenated by this stream-of-consciousness issue-identification and problem-solving, and feeling mentally settled for the first time in a while, I reached my right arm out of the water, over my head, took a deep breath, pulled myself through a backwards somersault and resumed swimming.

Driving home from the airport, so eager was I to effectuate this plan, I stopped at the mall first.


At Mon Aug 28, 10:22:00 PM PDT, Anonymous CRS said...

If you are really interested in taking short hikes on the weekends I recommend the following books--"101 Hikes in Northern California" by Matt Heid and "Best Snowshoe Trails of California, 100 of the Finest Routes in the Cascades and the Sierra" by Mike White (obviously you can hike on the snowshoe trails when there is no snow on them). Let me know if you would like specific trail recommendations!! Also, if you do bake a pie, I would like to eat some of it.

At Tue Aug 29, 08:14:00 AM PDT, Anonymous lori said...

That's my girl - still problem solving in a logical and efficient manner while floating in a pool! Could you send one of those pies down this way?

At Tue Aug 29, 01:25:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Clueless said...

Very nice piece! I spend a lot of my weekends in water, usually after I have fallen off my kayak. By the way, I make a killer sweet potato pie or pumpkin pie. Oh, darn! My soon-to-be ex-wife has the recipe file!!!

At Tue Aug 29, 01:54:00 PM PDT, Anonymous clk said...

Mmmm...pie! Oh, sorry what was my point? There is a pie festival near you I read about in a bad travel mag at the hospital. I say I visit and we go. Come on humor me.

At Fri Sep 15, 06:42:00 PM PDT, Anonymous pacific overtures, track 1 said...

fyi, it is not genetic. actors only get up that early if they work at starbucks.

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