07 August 2007

Weekend in New England: Part I

It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.
~ J.R.R. Tolkien (Bilbo Baggins)

Back in July I went up to New England for a mini-vacation with some close friends. Sullivan has an aunt and uncle who have a house up in New Hampshire that they let us use for 4 days. It was absolutely glorious! Silly me forgot her camera; however, both Sullivan and Jeannette brought theirs and took lovely pictures, some of which I will post here.

We left the DC area at 10:30pm on Thursday, July 12 and arrived in NYC at 3:00am at our friend Diane’s abode in the heart of Harlem. Leaving so late for an 11 road hour trip may sound crazy enough, but what added to the hilarity of it was the presence of a rather large chair, which Sullivan put in the trunk. Well, at least one foot in the trunk. The rest of it was hanging out behind, firmly tied down. But that was not all! There was an ottoman, which we affectionately named Otto, that went with the chair. He took up residence in the backseat of the car, between Jeanette and Ames. It made for quite an interesting 5 hours. We played “Istanbul, Not Constantinople” in Otto's honor. :-)

Once we dropped off Otto and his chair at Diane’s, and she took his place in the backseat, we were back on the road to New Hampshire. We reached Providence around 6 a.m. and stopped to have breakfast with Dan, a college friend. I was not as tired or freaked out as I thought I would be after close to 8 hours in a Dodge Neon with 4 people. Euro trash techno helped immensely and as I was riding shotgun, I was in charge of music. Ah….bliss!

We finally made it into North Hampton around 10 am and decided to stop at the house and get settled before heading to the beach. The house was beautiful with a huge screened in porch and an expansive front and side lawn. Then we headed to the grocery store and packed a picnic lunch and headed to the beach.

I’m a country gal. I grew up with black beef cattle for neighbors and wide expanses of rolling hills and trees and an occasional mountain range thrown in for good measure. The beaches I have been to have all been here in the Old Dominion and are sandy and soft, the water cool if not downright tepid. This was my first introduction to the New England coast. And what a stony and cold one it was! (Sort of how New Englander’s are….haha! A little joke at all my yankee friends’ expense….and hopefully not the last….hee!)

Supposedly walking on hot rocks is therapeutic. People pay hundreds of dollars to do this at a spa. We did it for free and it was NOT therapeutic! It was, well, stony! Ouch! Standing in the ice cold Atlantic, however, was. I felt like a kid again, my skirt hitched up to my knees, my bare feet clinging desperately to various medium to large sized rocks, as the waves crashed into me.

Sullivan stood further out than I did, being braver and having on shorts. He kept encouraging me to come closer to the waves, at times taunting my reluctance and at others, grabbing hold of my hand as I tentatively edged away from the shore. I kept saying, “Are you crazy!? I’m not standing on THAT little rock! I’ll be washed away!” And he would just laugh and then after about 5 minutes debating it, I would quickly hop to another rock. It would have been quite a hoot if I had fallen in and become completely soaked. Luckily, this did not happen. Now, however, I kind of wish it had!

After we struggled painfully back up to where Ames, Jeannette and Diane were sunning, I was instantly aware of the significance of stepping further and further out into the water, away from the painful, but safe shore and immediately began to write a poem about it. I felt something inside me give way and for the first time in a long time, I felt completely alive, completely relaxed and ready to dive into life. More importantly, I felt completely loved and accepted for who I am.

This became the theme of the rest of the trip: risking, letting go, trying new things, leaving my public face behind and growing closer to loved ones. All of us on this trip, I think, experienced the same things, albeit in different ways and to a different extent. But one thing was definitely true for all of us: these people are the core that we can count on to be there, both emotionally and physically, when we need them. This revelation was healing and in conjunction with all the other lessons I was learning, this trip proved to be another turning point in my journey. I am one step closer to self-discovery and therefore, one step closer to self-gift.

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

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