Time to Head South


Be it ever so humble…

The last two mornings in Michigan, I scraped a heavy coating of frost from the car windshield. It was thick and crackly, like vanilla glaze poured over a donut. Since our rental came from Florida, we had no ice scraper, so I picked through cards in my wallet–insurance, Philadelphia library, Marriott rewards–to find one I could use to peel off the frost, one that wouldn’t trouble me if it broke in half.

The last few days were melancholy as we watched one final sunset over the lake, ate our last cherry-stuffed cinnamon roll from Leelanau Pie and Pastry, and enjoyed a goodbye dinner with Pat’s mother and our daughter, Taylor. We had a wonderful fall–one of the warmest locals can remember. Then it ended.

Over the course of two days, we drove to Charlottesville, Virginia where our son and daughter-in-law live with our new grandson. Our settling in ritual requires us to find a gym the first day, and we did. Four weeks of down time, writing, working out, and Christmas celebrations will end too soon. When it does, we will fly south to Cuba and then onto Guatemala for the winter.

Our lifestyle is a constant reminder of the breathtaking speed at which time passes. We unpack and pack and then unpack once again. The day we arrived in Michigan, I ate lunch in shorts and a sleeveless shirt on the back patio. I watched as green leaves turned to red and yellow and then fell to the ground and were swept into a brown pile. How did that happen? Yet with each sadness at leaving is the thrill of a new destination.

Our cabin near Charlottesville, in the horse town of Keswick, will test the limits of our tolerance to living small. Stuffed into one small room is a kitchenette, a wardrobe, a single bed with a pull-out trundle bed underneath, and a drop-leaf table with two chairs. Yet its warm and cozy and if the roof blew off tomorrow, it would be someone else’s problem to deal with. As we drove back from town, Pat commented how relaxed he felt not to have any home chores awaiting him.

Still it’s like camping; everything must be kept tidy and immediately put back where it belongs. Each morning we make our beds and push the trundle into place. Only then can I pull both chairs to the table. I brew a cup of coffee then immediately dry the cup and place it back into the cupboard. There’s a certain peacefulness I feel over this simplicity. An anxiety creeps in whenever life begins to grow too large.

When I left this morning, I didn’t have to scrap the windshields. Pat is in Charlottesville running errands as I write. The cabin is quiet, warm, church lady neat. Before I think of it again, we will be packing up and leaving, and I will be wondering where time went.

That’s life, I suppose. I can warm it up. Now if only I could slow it down.

Categories: The United States

Tags: , , , , ,

6 replies

  1. A beautifully written piece, Julie. Your description of your cabin seems to slow life to the pace where it can be enjoyed, and the line: “An anxiety creeps in whenever life begins to grow too large” is a reminder to those of us who take everything far too seriously. It seems to me you have summed up tranquillity perfectly.
    Thanks 🙂

  2. What a great post! Thanks Julie!
    I wish I could slow time for you, but I’m faced with the same problem. We’ve been in Poland for almost a year, and we didn’t even scratch the surface!
    But, thanks to you and your great insights, we are not buying (accumulating) useless stuff.
    Can’t wait for future posts!
    Mirka and Dan

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