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Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Seeking eternal sunshine

It's raining again, as the Supertramp song says. I don't mind particular kinds of rain—especially soft summer rains that make you want to run through the puddles in your bare feet. But this endless rain and fog that descends every spring wears me down.

One week from today, 35 Hokes (give or take a few college-age nieces and nephews) will descend on Pensacola Beach, Florida. We were supposed to be among them (kicking that total over 40). Prudence required that we skip this spring break trip. It's too bad because the kids absolutely have a ball romping on the beach with their many cousins. And a Bushwacker from the Sandshaker Bar sounds pretty good right about now. But one of the problems with huge family vacations is that there are too many personalities involved.

I love to mingle with people, but I'm also somewhat of a loner. When we were there in 2002, I blew the minds of my sisters-in-law because I took a morning to visit old Pensacola by myself to take pictures. I didn't invite them along because I wanted to be alone. I needed to be alone. So I jumped in the car and rolled the windows down (I'm not a fan of A/C) and spent a fabulous morning exploring this waterfront town that was founded in the 1500s.

I've been dreaming of my ideal respite—it would only require four days. I would drive alone down to the Outer Banks (Avon), get a small beach house and spend my days reading on the beach, writing in my journal and snapping a few photos.
I long to sit in my beach chair, dig my feet into the sand and lean my head back to feel the sun's warmth on my face. I want to smell the salty ocean air and feel the peppermint sting of the water as I dive in to cool off. I wouldn't fight my unruly curly hair and would bring nothing but bathing suit, shorts, T-shirts and sandals. No fancy nights out, just quiet.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote so beautifully of spending time alone in "Gift from the Sea." I should re-read that book. My mom gave it to me when I was first married and told me it would mean different things to me at different times in my life. I'm sure she's right.

Is it so awful to want to spend time alone? Sometimes I just need to be rejuvenated. Being alone for a while, indulging in my passions, rejuvenates me and makes me a better wife, better mother and better person.

"In my mind I'm going to Carolina…" — James Taylor

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