Getaways are wonderful.
Fresh air for body and spirit,
time to re-connect with spouse and with self.
But it's not real life - at least not regular real life.
The week began with beautiful blue skies,
moderately warm sun,
clear mountain views,
and an invitation to slow down.
Our last night, we went to dinner at Roy's - one of our favorite restaurants. Pacific rim food, beautifully cooked, elegantly prepared.
We skipped lunch, got an early dinner reservation and enjoyed
an almost empty restaurant.
Both of us felt rested and grateful.
Braised pear and spicy walnut salad,
perfectly grilled salmon with polenta and braised spinach,
and their trademark Molten Chocolate Cake with
We don't eat this way very often,
so when we do - we make the most of it!
By the next morning, a big storm system was moving in rapidly. The mountains had disappeared from view,
and the wind was swirling as we loaded the car.
The desert reappeared, brown and sere, as we headed back to the freeway, just a tiny square of blue remaining in the sky.
There is a strange beauty to a desert landscape.
It's not one I would choose to look at all the time,
but it is one I appreciate when I'm there.
The desert palette is subdued, drawing attention to the shape and contour of the land itself.
The play of shadow and light is always shifting,
changing, soft and subtle.
Driving through the pass between Joshua Tree and San Bernardino, there are windmill farms by the acre,
tall spikes reaching into the air,
huge blades spinning, spinning, spinning.
I never know quite how I feel about these large areas of wind farming. I like the alternative harvesting of power
for our ravenous and technologically dependent culture.
Yet I rebel against the invasive nature of these foreign objects across the landscape.
We don't live in a perfect world and these enormous
turbines are reminders of that truth.
Yet the orderliness of their rows appeals to the (now almost entirely latent!) organizer in me and they do make a striking silhouette on the hillsides around the highway.
Like the rest of our desert experience,
the drive home is filled with interesting contrasts:
dry desert edges met by
green grass and expansive landscaping all through the cities;
geography that would naturally repel large numbers of people met by
wide roadways, crowded with cars and trucks;
sagebrush, cactus and joshua trees met by
golf course after golf course after golf course.
By the time we got to Redlands, it was raining quite hard, much-needed water falling on every surface - from high desert to mountain top, where elevation changed the drops to flakes of snow. At last, a bit of snow pack for our dry state.
We joined my mother for lunch in her dining room.
It was St. Patrick's day and all the waiters and waitresses were dressed accordingly.
Corned beef and cabbage,
green macaroni salad,
shamrock-shaped sugar cookies.
She was glad to see us - we were glad to see her.
She seems to be settling into assisted living better each week.
The rain was stopping as we neared Santa Barbara, but the wind was fierce. A brief stop at Butterfly Beach told us walking the beach would not be possible that day.
But even in the bluster, something rang and sang inside me.
This is the view that nourishes me most.
This is home.
We dove right back into life almost as soon as the car was unloaded.
Sunday worship, Connections Dinner with new people from church, several directees to see for me,
flight arrangements to be made for board meetings for Dick.
It is so good to get away from the regular sometimes.
To look at different landscapes,
to enjoy quieter, more solitary experiences.
But it is also good to come back to the regular,
to re-enter the maelstrom, to engage with the people and the work that God has called us to.
My husband will celebrate an important birthday this next week, a birthday that we are so happy he is reaching - alive and well, using his gifts to serve his family and the church, loving his grandchildren, helping many to make wise investment decisions, enjoying the somewhat slower pace that retirement has brought.
As I write this, it is very early on a Saturday morning and we have been home for one week.
He will rise in a few hours and play tennis with our son.
We will both work around the house, doing things that need to be done - but also doing things that will remind us of our time away - reading, writing, conversing.
And we will do them with contentment and purpose,
glad for the restful getaway, but also glad and grateful to be 'working out our salvation' in this time, in this place.
Glad and grateful to be at home.