For the last week, I could focus on the small, quiet pleasures that only seem to accumulate in large numbers when you’re on vacation. We recently travelled north to Michigan and spent a week in a cottage on the shores of Lake Huron. It’s a place my husband’s family has owned since the 1950s. Although I am a newcomer — by comparison — to the place, it has already seeped deep into my skin, offering a week every summer of rest and ease that eludes me the other weeks of the year.
There are vacations, and then there are vacations. The cottage offers the latter. The wee one gets a baby sitter, meals are prepared and served in the dining hall, and my greatest responsibility becomes whether I want to get up and pour myself another vodka and lemonade, or wait until my husband next to me on the porch rouses himself from his rocking chair to do the same. I read three books last week, and got halfway through a fourth. I floated in the swimming pool, gossiped with my sister-in-law, laughed at my son’s delight as he ran through the splash pad, walked hand-in-hand with my husband along the beach, and napped as the afternoon heat embraced me like a blanket.
I’ll try not to bemoan the end of my vacation and the return to what we all so mournfully refer to as reality. Here at my apartment in Dayton, there are no fresh lake breezes and the next meal I eat will be one I prepare. The sun is still shining, though, and my feet are bare, so there’s nothing stopping me from finding some warm concrete to roast my toes on, as long as I don’t mind that I’m standing on the edge of a parking lot. I may have to dig a bit deeper to find my simple pleasures now, but they’re here, surely, hidden in the depths of suburbia.