I don’t get out much.
This is intentional and by nature. I enjoy the vast good fortune of a life that revolves around a home place in a beautiful natural setting. I work from home, and my husband and I continually strive to arrange our leisure time to include activities that do do not require getting in a car.
Still, there are good reasons to get out now and again. As much as I love the landscape around me, a change of scene can be refreshing and the pleasures of socializing sometimes demand that I’m the one that hits the road. Both of my primary vocations—writing and indexing—are solitary endeavors, and mixing with colleagues who also spend their working days alone is uniquely invigorating. This fall, it just happened that all of the very good reasons for getting off the property happened to converge, with four different trips and gatherings crowding onto the calendar during September and October. All were events I looked forward to—a writing retreat, a vacation with my husband, an indexing workshop, a writer’s conference. And even though a perfectly aligned universe would have placed them on a schedule more evenly spread out, I suspect that such a universe might turn out to be rather dull.
And so I left for the first trip on September 8, arriving home from the last one on October 19. I’d slept twenty-three of the intervening nights away from home, had been gone six Saturdays running. As I puttered around the house this past weekend, I realized I wasn’t either preparing to go somewhere or catching up from having been gone for the first time in almost two months.
Re-entering the rhythms of my homebody lifestyle after a fair absence gives me renewed appreciation—which is part of the point of getting away, of course. What’s weird about my existence is that my everyday routine accommodates reflective time, wandering outside without a set destination or goal, and slow reading of physical books composed of ink and paper—the sort of quiet activities that most people crave and seek in their limited and precious getaway time. Rather than scavenging serenity, my life-work balance challenge involves seeking out the loud, urban, and hyper-connected world now and again. Otherwise, I risk allowing my private-universe life to settle below the event horizon of self-absorption’s black hole.
The past couple of months have been intense, particularly coming on the heels of The Busy of the summer. And although I regret not having more time to process all the conversations and sights and presentations and sounds and mentoring while it was all going on and fresh in my mind, I can look forward to the slowed pace of the approaching winter days. I’ll be able to savor a different sort of harvest than the potatoes I dug yesterday, but the principle is the same: tapping into an abundance salted away for later sustenance.