|Near the Flatiron
Last night, Dar and I returned home from New York City. I was beyond exhausted. More even than after twelve hours climbing on the Matterhorn. My muscles twitched and my back ached from the flight. My head hurt from not having drank enough water. Forget about vacation, I thought, I just want to stay home.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines vacation as “a respite or a time of respite from something,” and “a scheduled period during which activity is suspended.” I have never taken a vacation like that. I heard rumors of people resting on the beach, reading a book and drinking margaritas. I saw pictures from my friends’ trips in which they appear to be doing exactly that. But somehow whenever I go on vacation, I never sit down.
There is so much to do, new places to go, people to see. On this visit to NYC, Dar and I wore out our shoes walking some six miles a day, enjoying the Hudson, admiring the parks, window shopping and watching people. We checked out the city’s farmers’ markets and gluten-free restaurants. We met my family for dinner in Hell’s Kitchen after going on a tour of the Tenement Museum in the Lower East Village. We walked Broadway North to South. The only time we rested was when we ate, or when we sat through (only half) a musical.
I love adventure. I love the thrill of discovering a new park, seeing a new street, eating at a new restaurant. I want to walk down the side streets and into dead-ends, just to see where they go. I like to leave the hotel early in the morning and get back late at night. And I don’t like to sit down. Not for long. And only if I have something to do, like eat or read a book, or better yet — both at the same time.
Running ourselves rugged in New York City was good, but my favorite moment was putting down the bags and opening my arms to the wriggling, tail-wagging doggies welcoming us home. There is no place like home. No matter how many times the thorns in my backside force me up from my chair and away to the wild world outside, I just love coming home. I haven’t seen a place in the world I would rather be than right here, where I am, at my messy desk, near my open window, with my oaks growing crookedly on the hills outside.
I wish I remembered that longer. Before July is over, I will begin making plans: camping in King’s Canyon, kayaking in San Juan Islands, climbing in Inyo National Forest. I’m just going to stop calling those trips a vacation, and admit to myself that I love my home, but I also love running around. Around the corner adventure beckons, my friends, and I must heed the call. I want to, because, after all, it is mine.