I have no recipe for you today. Nothing to whet the appetite and nothing to get you excited to scurry into your kitchens. What I have for you is a simple hello. A wave from Southern Oregon where we’re staying at the moment. Today we’re going to visit Crater Lake. Yesterday, we left the redwoods in Northern California and my heart ached a little. Such trees! Such beauty! I felt so small, so insignificant – and it was humbling, liberating, glorious. I was an ant, surrounded by trees that were twenty feet wide and thousands of years old. What these trees have seen… The trees I’m seeing now, I think, “Well, someone’s an underachiever, I mean have you seen what a redwood has done? Why don’t you try growing a little wider, or taller, tree!”
We spent a few days in Northern California, which now has my heart. The trees, the fog, the brooding skies, the chill in the air – I love it all. That light, diffused through thick clouds and the mist – is some good photography light. Seriously.
Now we’re in Southern Oregon. At the moment, I’m sitting in bed, in our cabin, which, while modest, has all the accommodations we need. There’s even a coffee maker and I am drinking coffee in bed. How amazing is that? Our cabin is also meticulously clean and well-kept – in fact, it’s more impressive than the Palace Hotel where we spent the night in San Francisco after getting in at 3am PST. As I write, Andrew is sleeping to my right and he looks so peaceful, so comfortable, that I can’t wake him up yet. He is, in general, a very sweet sleeper, unlike me, where my face gets all scrunched up and I bury myself under the sheets and blankets. It’s vacation after all and if you can’t sleep in on your vacation, when can you sleep in?
We have been blessed with the most glorious and beautiful drives. Route 66, could you be any more stunning? Could you? I think not. As we were driving higher and higher into the mountains, Andrew said to me, “It’s like we’re in a movie!” – and all I could do is nod. The beauty of it all really renders you speechless. The views of mountains, hills, valleys, and rivers as far as the eye can see, distant mountains hazy and glowing in the sun, tiny cows dotting the horizon chewing peacefully in the distance.
I’ve been thinking, these past few days especially, on the importance of taking time off, about letting your mind rest, about living in the now. This is fresh coming from someone who is still working while on vacation and is actually checking email and writing this very post. But the thought of living in the moment has very much been at the foreground of my mind these past few weeks. I’m a planner by nature, a saver, a worrier. It’s part of my immigrant DNA, and I doubt I could ever fully shake it off. I suppose everything in moderation, which is why this trip is such a necessary thing.
Truthfully, were we a little more practical, we’d have chosen a less expensive journey. At the time, it seemed like a good idea, flights on points, SF and Portland hotels – also on points. But then the car rental cost factored in, and gas, and food, and x and y variables, and by the time all was said and done, we were hardly being frugal. But we decided to do it anyway. Not since last fall have we taken a proper vacation. And we needed one. And much as we plan for our future (and we should), all that we really have, all that we can really count on, is the now; the today.
And so I wanted to write this to you because, much as it sounds trite and saccharine, I feel that the importance of “today” cannot be diminished. We should give it our all, our undivided attention, our most. What that means for each of us will vary with our lives, priorities, abilities. Maybe it means taking a vacation (for us it did), or taking a long walk around your neighborhood or a park. Maybe it means running that race you’ve always wanted to do. Or learning to play an instrument, or taking a class. Or maybe it’s even less ambitious, but nonetheless important, just having a quiet night with a book or a movie.
Whatever it is, I hope it’s what you need and what you want. Us, we’re going to look at a giant lake. And sigh and wonder at nature’s creations. But that’s just today – tomorrow we’re in wine country, and you know that that means.