The blissful quality of sweet escape

Fireflies fill the night. I am alone in the family vacation cottage, relishing my time away from the rest of my life. “I think I am happiest when traveling,” confesses a decades-long friend, unwilling to say (out loud) the rest of the sentence about being away from family duties and choices they sometimes question. I understand because I feel exactly the same way.

Questions of compassion, questions of mercy, and what it means to be a mature adult flit across my mind before I banish them in favor of listening to the cicadas and watching the children on bikes, followed by Labradors happily following behind, tails awaggin’. I listen to laughter drift across the gravel roads, of people (newcomers, really) who know one another far better than I, a longtimer and a stranger; I don’t fit in—not really, despite my “credentials.” But, this is ok, because it reflects the rest of my life. I can relax in my strangeness—not that anyone would necessarily identify me that way, well, except me, of course. No one is looking to me for anything. Escape can be a good, good thing.

Usually, I focus my efforts in this blog on being “real” and the willingness to honestly confront (apologies for the split infinitive) our day-to-day reality. But not today.

Today, I want to celebrate the importance of escape, of feeling wistful, of wanting to be alone. Each and every one of us wants these things and if you deny this, well, you’re either fooling yourself or are a liar. The trick is in not condemning ourselves for craving solitude, for what was, for what we can’t or don’t…have.

It’s odd to live in suspension, isn’t it? It is! What is it about running away that is so subversively delicious? I can’t tell you the number of people who have confessed wishing, desperately, to escape their realities. Who are wistful about…what was and what might have been. Who go home, each night, and struggle against their desire for something or someone who isn’t there. Some lucky few have what they want. And for those of you who do, hold tight, be grateful, and don’t forget how unusual you are.

All families are Faulknerian in nature—each and every single one of them and you know what I mean by that!  So, number one: give yourself a break; and number two: be aware of the shrill panicky quality in the laughter you hear drift from across the street—they’re not, necessarily having the carefree fun they hope to convey. This is what keeps me sane—I’m not so far “off course,” no matter what sort of show they put on. They, too, have sturm und drang. A re-booter knows this.


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