It’s August 1st. The Scientist and I are making our way home. An early departure from our downtown Chicago hotel guaranteed little traffic, seats on the “L” into O’Hare, and a minimum of the “hurry up and wait” rhythm of travelling.
It’s been one month since I began my leave, though as my wise friend, M, suggested, this might not feel any different from the typical mid summer wistfulness of “one month gone, one to go,” given I typically have July and August off.
As the quality of my summer recess is usually determined by the successful balance of home care chores completed, “must do” events attended, books read, food savoured, and dear friends visited, July has been an amazing month as I reflect on several of its highlights:
- Unpacked my file boxes and reorganized my home “office” once I acquired the “almost new” filing cabinet from online Kijij (the sweet deal included delivery and move down a flight of stairs!)
- Purchased a cruiser bicycle. Not the orange FELT I’d seen on a street in Innsbruck a few summers ago, so smitten I asked if they’d ship it to Canada and when informed FELT was made in North America, I immediately returned to the hotel and began a correspondence at home with John and Cal at Velocity Cycle. We finally conceded that FELT was not about to modify beyond a rather useless one gear model and so we found a most suitable substitute with moxie and elegance, basket and panniers, to serve as my green alternative around town.
- Began my home sorting and simplifying project. This will be an ongoing venture, into the wake of which I hope to sweep the Scientist, he of the multitude of boxes of high school and undergrad notes!
- Travelled far and wide to the interior of both my being and continent.
- Shared time with several of my dearest women friends, whose companionship heartens, lightens, nourishes and sustains me.
- Began writing a blog.
- Read some wonderful books (Astrid and Veronika by Linda Olsson), how-to manuals, travel magazines.
- Overcame brand loyalty and took a lot of pictures with my new Panasonic Lumix.
- Went to some of those outdoor summer “must do’s” – baseball, Shakespeare in the Park, the zoo and conservatory.
- Ate some of the most delicious and artfully prepared food: Radway Royale Hotel, Café Haven, NumchokWilai a little Thai favourite in Edmonton, and Chicago’s Shula’s Steakhouse, Sepia, Quartino, Avec, Fox & Obel, and the Terzo Piano at the Art Institute.
With less than an hour before landing, I’m grateful for the grounding that unpacking, laundry, grocery shopping, yard work and fetching our “kids with fur” will bring. And with that, moments to savour what has just been, and to gently contemplate and wonder about what is to come. More poignantly so, as the Scientist and I hold close in thought and prayer our dear friends in Phoenix, who, just a short week ago, began dealing with the uncertainties of a long anticipated, but sudden and significant health crisis. It brings home how fleeting life is.