|Sadie has come in from her day chasing lizards. |
She's still not into making eye contact
but she's not too proud to take the treats I offer her.
Marathon Key, Florida
Vacation: Day One.
Here I am. On the deck. It’s nighttime and I can hear fish jumping in the canal right in front of me. I’m staying in my friend’s beautiful little house on a canal surrounded by others like it though not as nice. My friend rebuilt this place himself and added a second floor. Once a boatbuilder, he has paid great attention to detail and made clever use of every square inch of precious space.
This is a sweet and friendly getaway made to facilitate a certain kind of life on a canal in the Keys. Views, decks, fishing poles, a boat, cigars, work stations for the laptops and printers, a bed that folds out from a wall, books, Bombay Sapphire and martini glasses in the freezer. I don’t have to plan anything about this vacation. I just have to fully inhabit this house.
Many of the neighbors live here all winter. They don’t have to question their every move. They don’t have to wonder, have I taken full advantage of every second of Day One of my seven day stay the way I’ll do every day that I’m here. No. They can sort of live normal lives.
No wonder, then, that the TV in the house to the left of me has been on all day and, I assume, the woman in there has been watching it all day. Am I curious about this? Of course. This was a day of sunshine and blue-green water and pelicans landing and taking off mere feet away. Too much Paradise is my guess.
To the right of me, there’s some kind of never-ending party that includes fishing off the deck, then grilling it up right there. I see some men holding beers and everyone’s in on the noisy chitchat about tomorrow’s Super Bowl. I hear plenty of laughing. It is all good.
It takes days to settle into a vacation, for your mind to chill, for your body to let go. If you’ve come from the north, as we have, your shoulders are probably sore from all that shivering. It’s been a very cold winter. I have been trying to get Jim to get a Swedish massage in a place up the street because he’s sore all over. You’re a Swede, I say, you can take it. Sometimes the body needs a helping hand with this letting go we hope happens on vacation.
I’ve had a full first day. I started out with an agonizing, euphoric run in heat and humidity that was quite a shock since it was 16 degrees and windy on my last run. After running and trying hard to hydrate afterward, without much luck because of all this sweating I’m doing, I worked on a couple of jobs I have. Then I read. I made notes for my book review. And I performed duties. I am here, officially, to cat sit while my friend takes a trip. I befriended Sadie, gave her the same treats I give to my cat Lila. Happily, Sadie’s feeling comfortable enough to sleep on a chair near Jim. I should follow her example, let myself be seduced by all the treats. They’re everywhere.