Thursday, April 02, 2009

Trip To The Mountains

This will be my last entry for a few days. In the morning I will be driving to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for a few days of rest and relaxation. My wife and I were going to make this trip last November but then her mother died so we cancelled it. I am looking forward to the time away from my normal routine and the anticipated beauty of spring in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Today was a beautiful day in my part of the world. I went out for lunch with my friend, Wendy, and it was warm and sunny and the sky was blue. After finishing our meal we sat outside the restaurant and simply enjoyed the warmth of the sun, the cool of the breeze, and the calming effect of the flowing Ohio River. I think we could have sat there all day but the call of work responsibilities awakened us from our daze and we returned to our office. Sometime tomorrow I will be back in another daze as I sit on a bench hundreds of miles away while my wife shops in a nearby store. When the right store appears before me I will also be separated from some of my money. We will both be doing our best to stimulate the local economy of Gatlinburg.

The last five months have been difficult. I spent a week in the hospital and my wife and I lost two parents. Along with these major events there's the daily struggle just to live an authentic life. There is rarely a moment when I do not struggle with some personal issue and many around me, whether they be family, friends, or co-workers, struggle with their own issues and sometimes these issues demand my involvement. Since I am nothing more than a mere mortal, there are days I simply want to scream. Typically, I don't actually scream but eventually I feel the need to get away for a few days whether it is a trip to the mountains or a weekend at the monastery. The luxury of an extended sabbatical alone in a peaceful place is unlikely so I must content myself with whatever opportunities are available. The opportunity of the moment is a long weekend a few hundred miles south of home.

Why is it that so many of us, including me, when we walk out of work to begin a period of time off feel like we have just been paroled from prison or just been granted shore leave after an extended time of duty on a battle cruiser? There's a tremendous sense of freedom when the shackles are loosened for a few days and one can slip away.

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