Rendered Fat Content


Hakuin Ekaku 白隠慧鶴: Poem (Mid 18th century)

" … to take a DayOff from our vacation."

How often have The Muse and I stayed in historic hotels only to find ourselves too busy to experience the places? They each presented themselves as space to escape, but they more often seemed to become places we'd get even more involved. We'd have a workshop to lead or a conference to attend, so we'd forego the amenities in favor of more urgent necessities. They considered themselves somehow literary and usually included extensive libraries of which guests were encouraged to take full advantage. A few fancied themselves writer destinations, typically places where someone famous had penned part of a popular novel. The rooms in one were named after famous literary figures, which many guests had probably never read. We primarily associate from some distance, as if mere presence could compensate for the effort literacy requires.

We declared a vacation from our vacation, a day off from our continual Toodling.
The weather forced our hand, and I tried to resist. We were in a favorite hotel filled with books, art, and overstuffed chairs, aching for someone to read a book while slouching in them. An authentic Eames chair sat before a huge canvas, calling me to write there, but as per usual, it first appeared that we'd only have time to peek into that place without really assuming the mythical lifestyle of the well-placed, if not the famous. The DayOff changed that. We lingered. I wrote. We both read before an actual fire. I sat in the sun out of the wind and felt the warmth of the impending season renewing me. We were not pretending for a change but actually present and living up to our pretensions. Hey, look, Ma, we're literary!

We took ourselves out for a late breakfast rather than a rushed one more common to Toodling. We poked around a few tourist traps and visited a laundromat to rub shoulders with the locals. We got lost in the place we would have ordinarily just missed passing through. Most of the places we claim to have seen when Toodling, we only ever see in passing. We might choose the slow roads but don't usually stop moving. Even when Toodling, we're still trying to get somewhere, a destination that will deny us permission to stop very often along the way. It feels illicit to stay an extra day without even the barest thread of an agenda. The gift of nothing in particular might be one of the greatest gifts of this whole excursion. We slipped away so that we could take a DayOff from slipping away.

Today, we'll hit the road again. We'll regain our high-minded trajectory intended to get us back home by Friday. We plan to drive around the storm system that's dropping snow along the originally intended route. The Muse remains skeptical that we need this detour, but I'm insistent. Recharged from a day spent in literary suspension, we can resume our grand pretension that we're visiting places we're just passing through. Our regular lives have started sending insistent messages. The Muse has an important meeting on Wednesday, so we must ensure we have access to adequate bandwidth so that she can remotely attend. The innocence with which we began this adventure increasingly surrenders to what we've learned and experienced. We'll return without the innocence with which we departed, refreshed by the time we slowed down long enough to take a DayOff from our vacation.

©2024 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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