Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Laborless Weekend

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Taken on a walk on Sunday afternoon...

My husband spent most of his life pre-college growing up in two different small Alaskan villages, the kind you have to fly to, the kind where everyone knows everybody, the kind where diplomas and degrees hold much less value than the real world because most jobs require manual labor and/or common sense.

Visits to the grocery store with Curtis's mom take seven times as long as they otherwise would because we run into endless people that she knows and loves. Sundays at church usually end with us as the last ones in the parking lot, with everyone looking to catch up with Curtis--who is "all-grown-up". It's a small town in the truest sense, and because it is cut off from society unless you're getting on a plane or a very long ferry, it is tight knit down to the very core.

This is the kind of village that people from "Deadliest Catch" come from--literally.

We flew out for the long weekend after a long week of work, looking forward to the first three-day span Curtis has had off since he started work--his 9th, 10th and 11th days off in nine weeks of working. We were not disappointed. The first day's heavy rain left us inside to bake and nap and share company with longtime neighbors. The second day's sunshine found us out hiking along the coast and running with a past coach. Every day found us eating favorite meals, sharing stories of years past, and playing card games until we were exhausted.

And then we'd play longer.

My brother's cross country team had ferried out to the village to race over the weekend, and some of the first time visitors were in awe of the beauty of the island. "I want to retire here" one whimsical girl confessed, mesmerized by the mossy forests and the crashing waves. While I commend her for planning ahead, there is one crucial piece of information she wasn't fully considering in her decision: the fact that it was sunny.

In my many trips out to the island to visit Curtis’s home and family the days of sun have been few and far between. I have spent many more days running in sideways sleet and slush than I have basking in the sunshine. With that said, the weather hardly puts a damper on the visits. Everything about Curtis’s childhood home is relaxing: the baby pictures posted in the stairways, the posters on the bedroom walls that weren’t ever removed after Curtis graduated, reflecting 90’s professional sports stars and high school special events. The medals from high school sporting exploits are dusty and still stacked on the bookshelf in flimsy cases, and a letterman jacket still hangs in the closet.

Returning to the house of his childhood leaves me feeling like I’m a child again for the weekend, waking late in the morning to a fresh hot breakfast, lounging in sweatpants past lunch, losing track of time because there is nothing that really needs to be done.

Except, of course, just being together.

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I returned to my normal 11+ hour work day today with a full day of computer training and a nice long run along the coast for practice. I’ll finish the evening grading a stack or two of papers while my wet hair soaks the shoulders of my shirt. In a couple hours I’ll turn in for the night, ready to do it all again.

But even as I re-enter the busy schedule that consumes my existence, I will revel in memories of lazy walks along rocky beaches, the sound of sea gulls filling off in the distance, the smell of salt water and decaying fish being carried in the breeze.

And a little piece of me will (thankfully) still be at rest.

1 comment:

  1. Your time on the island reminds me of my time on Skye; there's something almost magical about being in a place that allows you to just be.

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