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Saturday, January 11, 2014

What I Did on My Christmas Vacation

I didn't really go on vacation. I had four scheduled days off because the tourism industry gets funny like that in the dead of Winter. With the weather being the way it has been, all polar vortex-y and junk, I was stuck away from home for those 4 days.

Stuck carries the connotation of inconvenience, annoyance, and being somewhere you do not want to be. Nothing, however, could have been further from the truth. While it is true that I had not planned to be away from home for more than one of those 4 days, I was in the perfect place for me. When I accepted the invitation to Christmas Eve dinner I had to cancel other plans. The warning was put out that this cancellation was a possibility because the place that I was going was somewhere that I had been asking to be for a very long time. And the person who issued the invitation was a complete and utter surprise to me and the fulfillment of another one of those "Ask and Ye Shall Receive" things I've been doing with the Universe.

Christmas Eve began with the traditional knots and nerves that usually came with all the Christmases Past. We've discussed how in the last three years the day after festivities' major barf-o-rama never materialized because I made the changes to make sure I had stress free holidays. So the pre-event symptoms were a shock. Though, I have to admit, not completely unexpected. After all, I was going to meet a guy that I had only recently met. We hit it off in a grand fashion. So I should not have been worried. Not at all. But I was. And the second that he met me at the door all the nerves disappeared.

I do not even remember when the last time was that I could feel so at ease with someone so quickly. As he is a Scorpio, I have vowed there will be no details of him until he is ready to grant sharing permission. I will only share the experiences.

He lives off the water in my dad's home town. So on an emotional level several things happened all at once. For one, that meant I had to make longer drives than I have been comfortable with since the hamstring incident. Honestly, I don't know why that has been the damper on my activities. I couldn't sit in the seat because  I tore myself a new ass along with the hammie; it's not like I was in a car accident and developed a logical phobia. But I've had a phobia anyway. This from a woman who drove over 1500 miles a week for work. For two, I haven't been in dad's home town since he died. And for three, I haven't gone to sleep with the Bay in my vision, or found myself waking to the light on the waves since grampa died in 1986.

Water is a significant thing to me. I grew up with these waters permeating every aspect of life in my own home town. Dad was from up the Bay on one side and Grampa lived on the other while I grew up in the middle in a city at the delta of a sliver of a greater lake. We spent Christmas Eve at Grampa's house. The harrowing ride out the winding road along Old Mission peninsula, the darkened night lit by Christmas lights, a feast, egg nog and the debilitating & terrifying trip, backwards, down the drive way, aimed at the dark waters of the Bay. If the brakes failed we were in the water. Dark. Cold. Anything-could-be-lurking-in-those-inky-depths water. Then Christmas day we were home. And a day or so after that we were back at Gramma and Grampa's for an overnight.

The water is mesmerizing. I could stare at it for hours, watching wave forms & patterns. I scanned the currents in hopes that we had our own Champ or Nessie until I was about 12 and discovered science fiction. Then I started scanning the skies. Beyond being reminiscent of my childhood Christmases on the Bay, the deep connection to my Grandparents was rekindled. Not the whole German thing that I've been doing on other blogs (as well as here). The personal connection.

The Bay, with its steely grey blue color in Winter was calming. Things were slower at my grandparents house because that is just the way life is with the 70-somethings. But, as the back drop for a gorgeously trimmed tree which required concentration to see through the pine boughs, the bay was one of those things that encouraged a person to stop. To stare. Or to let go. Some how in most of those moments of reflection, one of my grand parents found me. A quite question asked opened a door for expression. As long as I was looking at the bay the turmoil inside of me stilled enough to be communicative and methodic in my answers instead of the hot chaotic mess that I was at home. I reflect my surroundings and the persons in them. And that was always the best atmosphere to reach the heart of me.

Besides their willingness to understand their frequently distraught grand daughter, the opportunities the Bay gave them to catch me when I was calm was their best advantage to helping me. The willingness is the key though. Most everyone gives up because the strength of the feelings that I feel and how deep everything goes is a daunting mountain to climb; or spelunk if I happen to be stuck in a cavernous maze of exquisite dwarven confusion in the heart of said mountain.

Any body of water will do that for me. But it is the Bay that connects me to my grand parents. And now in a way to a new friend with the potential to be someone more than I expected. During my four days I found myself drifting off into that calm state of peace that I haven't felt since my days in Marquette with another body of beautiful water. There were many opportunities for reflection. And I felt my grandparents more keenly than I have in many years. My gramma is never far from me. Grampa, grampa is another matter altogether. He's been a busy lad on the other side. Gone for nearly 27 years, this Christmas Eve was the first time that I have felt him near enough to me in spirit that I could have sworn that he was standing with me looking out the window.

Two week prior to Christmas I had a dream in which Gramma, mom and dad and a set of cousins were present. I normally dream Gramma and parent dreams. And normally dream the setting we were in. In a decade this is the first time that I was able to approach their house to find people in it. It's been empty and abandoned every time I have been there. I have care taken it in those dreams and lamented the lack of persons in the home, worried about them. In one dream a few years ago there was a message on the answering machine (that they did not have in their life time) from Gramma stating that they would be gone a little longer but that they would be back; that I should not worry. I closed up the house and went on again. That is how they usually go anyway.

But in this dream when my new friend and I went around back where the lawn chairs often were, Grampa was tramping across the yard toward the house and met us on the way. His voice boomed a grand "Hallloooo" and I got the sweeping swinging hug that I always missed out on because I wasn't as giddy? as some of the other grand kids. And there, sitting under the birch were mom and dad (who also are never in this dream scape) and a set of cousins who are alive. That was perplexing. I've never been so relieved to see my Grampa in all my life! I woke up from that dream, crying happy tears.

To find myself on the Bay two weeks after that dream with the kind of peace that comes of being still.... my Christmas was perfect.

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