life as i know it

"...everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." -Sylvia Plath

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

the essence of carefree

As I sit here now, on my own back porch, the crickets serenading me with their cacophony of random noises, I can still feel the remnants of vacation lingering inside me.

I started out on my journey relatively early on Saturday morning, a nice three-hour drive filled with music and phone calls from my sister, our attempts at highway games dismantled by the 60 miles between our vehicles. As she traveled down to the coast, I began my own journey with a long-overdue stop in my old stomping ground. Though it’s hard to see drastic changes as you pass cotton field upon cotton field, I could feel the changes in the air. Even my route had changed as I pulled into my best friend’s new driveway to her new house. I cannot even begin to describe the joy of first seeing her. Clad in striped pajama pants and a white tank, the glow of love surrounded her in the doorway. In all the woes of her pregnancy, she still shined, emanating beauty from every inch of her smile and her growing belly. Big hugs, belly kisses, and a couple hours lounging on the couches. Then a trip to our favorite video store and an incredible little farmer’s market. We loaded up on fresh peaches, strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, and of course a bag filled to the brim with salty boiled peanuts. A quick stop to pick up lunch then back to our respective couches. A leisurely sweet afternoon filled with the best company and the beauty of our friendship.

After a late-night drive to my parents’ house, a few stories and laughs shared over midnight snacks, and a long night’s sleep in my old bedroom, I awoke on Sunday in my hometown. As I had made no phone calls to old friends nor set any definite plans for my trip, I relished the feeling of freedom upon waking. No errands to run, no deadlines to meet, no work waiting to be done…just me and my hometown.

I could detail the remainder of my trip, but the essence is not captured in the details. As I stepped outside, my lungs filling with the salty air of the ocean wafting all the way to the mainland, something in me let go. I let go of my worries about CAT scans and kidney problems, blood tests and ultrasounds. I let go of the rushed feeling of needing to drive 75 miles per hour down interstates and comfortably settled into a speed of 50 as I drove across the causeway leading to the island. The rest of my trip was a delicious reminder of the beauty and simplicity of island life. Hot sand between my toes, babies in wagons, kids building sandcastles, beach umbrellas in every shade of the rainbow, elderly couples strolling the shoreline, their skin browned to perfection from endless afternoons just like this one. The gentle crashing of the Atlantic waves, the background music as my mind drifted past the chaos of previous months and years and centered in that one moment. Sea gulls overhead, kites flying, and icy cool lemonade to replenish the body and spirit. Floating lazily in my aunt’s pool each afternoon, listening to my uncle’s stories of life in Vietnam and life in the FBI. Outdoor showers, the cool water raining down on freshly bronzed skin, the grains of sand washing away with the worries of the world. Every moment reminded me how carefree life can feel.

There is little need for wearing shoes. Flip-flops are the only necessity if shoes are needed at all. A night out on the town is enjoyed in shorts and a tank, no need for lipstick or eyeliner or trendy clothes. Beach bags and backpacks replace purses, watches are left on the nightstand (or the bottom of a beach bag), and the scent of suntan oil is the perfume de jour. It’s been a long time since I allowed myself to experience the true “island life”…but what an incredible feeling it is.

I’d love to say that the 4th of July was not touched by reality, that the carefree nature of the island infused each of us until all worries melted away in the burning sun. Unfortunately, a couple of minor catastrophes did interrupt the day. But even with a minor car accident (I backed into my daddy’s truck…oops!) and my granddaddy’s excruciating bout of vertigo, most of the family managed to enjoy a near-perfect evening of celebration. With my sweet boyfriend by my side (he unexpectedly flew down the night before) and my family around a small outdoor table, we enjoyed a delicious supper of chicken kebabs and grilled veggies, homemade Hawaiian bread and potato salad. Then a blanket by the lighthouse, an incredible display of fireworks over the ocean, and homemade ice cream and star-shaped cupcakes for dessert.

I cannot remember the last time I went home and felt so carefree. I cannot remember the last time I stood on that shore and let all thoughts drift out to sea or the last time I breathed in and allowed the salty air to cleanse my soul. I cannot remember the last time I stood outside, looking up at ancient oaks and dancing Spanish moss and saw the pure beauty that those trees behold. Or perhaps I should say, I couldn’t remember the last time…until today.


At 10:25 PM, Blogger Jessie said...

Tara Dawn, your trip sounds absolutely amazing. Ok, I'm a little jealous. :)- It was nothing but noise and rowdy teenagers in our neighborhood. Vinny and I decided that next year maybe we should find somewhere to hide out and relax.

If nothing else, I got to experience some peace in reading about your weekend. It just kinda spills off the page and into me. :) You make me wish for the ocean, to sink my bare feet into warm sand, to just watch the waves and sky until everything else melts away.

I'm sending you lots of love--and I'm glad you had such a healing vacation.

At 10:52 PM, Blogger tara dawn said...

The trip was amazing indeed. Perhaps next year, you and V can make a trip out here and we'll go enjoy the ocean together! My family has plenty of condos on the island...I can always get you guys one for free! Can you tell I'm missing you???

At 2:58 PM, Blogger BendingPeak said...

Sounds wonderful! I am glad that you were able to relax and enjoy, that is what a holiday is meant to provide. Welcome back.

At 8:42 PM, Blogger Jessie said...

oh man tara, that sounds WONDERFUL!

Guess what I started working on today. :)

At 3:56 AM, Blogger GoGo said...

Nice trip. Sounds quite refreshing. :O).

At 12:59 PM, Blogger baylor said...

This whole thing just made me cry! I love all that is you so much! I wish so much I could have been with you! It was so good and refreshing to see you! You are my soul mate forever!


At 4:46 PM, Blogger Tammy said...

Oh Tara, the way you described your vacation made me so want to be there! I'm happy your man joined you and you let your cares drift away :)

I watched paint dry! LOL

Love you!

At 7:13 PM, Blogger Colorsonmymind said...

WOW is all that comes to mind...

I love the way you wrote about this freeeing experience.

I truly long for this type of vacation...from worry and chore, to freeing abandon.

What a wonderful trip and break for you. I am so happy you got to enjoy it.

Loved reading about it:)


At 6:31 PM, Blogger StillWater said...

Wow, thats interesting that a woman consumes over 4 to 9 lbs of lipstick in her lifetime! Here is the link that I found that shows all of the research:


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