A Perfect Vacation
Back in early February, when I requested to have the last two weeks in May off work, I fully intended to spend it traveling. I would spend the first week visiting family in the Pacific Northwest and in the Deep South, and the second week attending the annual conference of the American Academy of Physician Assistants being held in San Francisco. But events transpired that it was not to be, and though I was disappointed at first, it has turned out to be perfect in the end. I am having the vacation that Fat Doctor longed for, and I couldn’t be happier.
I love to cook, but there never seems to be enough time or energy for doing more than basics. Today there is a big pot of moose chili bubbling on the stove, and a hot skillet of cornbread is going to go with it. It is the last of my moose meat from the fall, a gift of my friend and mushing idol, Aliy Zirkle (her real name! The only real name I use in this blog.) She stayed with Dutch and me in January for two weeks when she came to Bethel to run the Kuskokwim 300, our premier sled dog race, and we’ve been friends ever since.
Out in the mud room, there is a caribou leg thawing out to make stew with in the next few days. It was a gift from Sinka, one of Dutch’s crew who had a successful hunt in late winter. He just dropped it off one evening, with a smile, and a handshake, and a quiet “enjoy!” We shall, quyana cuk nuk!
I love bicycling, but Bethel is a challenging place for it most of the year. Especially for a former long distance rider used to really skinny tires. Distance cycling was what I missed the most when I first moved here. I rode the Seattle-to-Portland Bicycle Classic (200 miles) three times back in the 1990s, and really enjoyed thirty- or forty-mile rides regularly. Since I haven’t managed to switch to a nail-studded mountain bike, I haven’t done much cycling here.
In March Dutch bought me a new cyclocross bicycle for my birthday, and I am delighted with it! It’s been on the windtrainer for several months, but today I took her out for her first real road test and it was a blast. The roads here are always going to be fairly rough (packed gravel or very patched pavement) for a “roadie”, but just being out on a fine new machine was a total joy. I can forget how much I miss it.
And then there is writing. I love to write, and always have; but it is something I always seemed to accomplish only in spurts, with long dry spells in between. Writing is a tool that helps me clarify my thinking, and often broaden my understanding of my experiences. When I write about something, I see it differently, experience it more fully. It focuses me.
Not having the time to write is a well-worn excuse, but writing, for me, is something that takes time. Time to think, to sift, to polish. A long stretch of time, uninterrupted by commitments elsewhere, is what this two weeks has given me. It is a blessing for the awakening writer beginning to walk the path.
I can’t imagine a more perfect vacation. Unstructured time at home to write, to cook, to bicycle, and to be with my dogs and my soul mate. Life is good.
Labels: Life in Bethel