I’m back…

Chances are, you haven’t seen me around for a few days. There’s a reason. I’ve been on vacation, in northern Virginia, where Kerrie’s parents now live. It’s about an hour west of Washington D.C., and right in the heart of historical Virginia, where the streets are all cobblestone and the shops all consist of the same warped windows that have lasted through two of the country’s most recognized wars.

But more than that, I’ve been on a mini sabbatical, a rest from the world, respite from my constant wordsmithing. I’ve been recharging, as they say, and I won’t lie – I feel it.

I feel like I’m bursting with inspiration, my mind ready to take on the challenges of writer’s block. I feel like I’ve got things to say. Weekly and monthly columns to get around to. Books to pretend I actually read.

And, I feel relaxed. Probably for the first time since I stayed home with Sierra during my paternity leave. Relaxed, and thrilled about it.

With this relaxation, with the utter lack of responsibility and no need for critical thinking, I made some incredible realizations. Realizations that might seem banal, too simple to be revelations. But revelations all the same.

I realized that Washington D.C. isn’t a tourist paradise, but a legitimate amazing feat of urban design, mass transit and epic history. I realized that even the most hardened cynic can feel patriotic around the Lincoln Memorial. And I realized that after three years I still haven’t come to full terms with my grandfather’s death, a veteran of both the Vietnam and Korean wars, two wars memorialized in D.C. and located in close proximity for the maximum in emotional drainage.

I realized that history is unchanging, and that no matter how many layers of paint or remodeling jobs you do the ghosts of history still stand, watching you, Civil War caps tipped to the right, bayonets sagging under the weight of their ammunition, thousands of lives wasted for a quarrel, their remains creating the landscape that we trod upon.

I realized that 350+ pictures is probably enough.

I realized that a beer at noon tastes better than any consumed at night, that seafood pasta at home can reach restaurant like excellence and that the only thing you should do while on vacation is eat and drink and eat some more.

I realized that a week can easily be wasted just watching your daughter grow up.

Most of all, I realized that time off is necessary. That it’s healthy. That the problems of travel and close quarters and weather and delays and rising tension and lost productivity mean nothing when matched to the sheer expanse of soothing catharsis that comes from a few hours away from the grid. Or a few days. Or a week. Plus.

That’s all in the past, though. I’m back, and I’m glad.

This was lovingly handwritten on September 7th, 2008