Philip and I have just recently returned from a New England adventure, consisting of a blissful week in a cottage in Maine and a mad-cap weekend in Boston with my sister and her husband.
Ten days becomes an eternity when there’s nothing to do but feast your eyes on gorgeous scenery and your mind on good books. How wonderful it was to flee for a while to a distant spot on the map, to entrust our home and our animals to dear friends, to be out of range of the tentacles of modern ‘connectivity’ and to be completely quiet. There were days in our little cottage that neither of us would speak a word for hours on end, so engrossed were we in our respective reading and writing and musing. And there were lovely escapades, as well: forays into the breathtaking country-side and the drama of Acadia National Park. Crystalline days and famous Maine fog…
I prayed fervently before we left that God would refresh me while we were away. That He would literally restore my soul, dimly realizing that the restoration Psalm 23 speaks of entails repentance as well as rejuvenation, a sort of reinstatement in grace. It’s so easy to lose our footing, even on the firm, sure ground provided for us, and sometimes the only way to see things clearly as they are is to be uprooted from our physical surroundings and familiarities. To wake up in the morning and gaze with wondering eyes on country we’ve never seen before; to sit long on a shore hitherto unknown and drink deep of a breeze scented strangely with evergreen and salt. Some of the most distinctive and clear-sighted moments in my life have been while traveling, and though my affectionate soul will probably always hold that ‘home-keeping hearts are happiest’, I cherish the opportunities I’ve had to see more of the world than the blessed corner of it I call my own.
Late in the week I made a pan of gingerbread for breakfast and as the sweet spice wafted through our little cottage I felt a fleeting stab of homesickness. I welcomed it with a thrill, glad to be refreshed enough for a wistful thought of all that I had left behind; glad, too, that my retreat had yet a fine stretch of days ahead, and that what lay at its end was so inescapably dear to me. A happiness beyond my happiness.
The re-entry was admittedly rough; there were tears shed leaving the cottage, leaving my sister in Boston, leaving the ground in the airplane. The morning that Philip went back to work was very blue indeed. But there was Caspian tripping me up all day in his delight at our return. There were four cats to be won over again and nine chickens who all came bundling towards me when they spotted me in the yard. There was my beloved brown teapot and my piano and my sun-splashed kitchen. And there was my view from the windows, one I’d not exchange for anything.
So, it was a marvelous trip and I am brimming with thoughts to ponder and process, for I knew instinctively even while I was there that I wouldn’t fully receive it all till I was home again. And more than likely some of it will spill over here.