After visiting Parc Gatineau earlier today - with its panoramic view of the Rideau Canal and Ottawa River - we strolled around the market before sharing dinner at the Highlander Pub. It was freakin' amazing - great food on the patio - with terrific people watching and street musicians to boot! At one point Di asked, "Are you ok... sad... or tired?" And it took me a while to realize that it was neither - it was melancholia - because I hate vacations to end. My body and heart actually ache...
I know that part of that ache is the chill groove we've been able to adopt over the past two weeks - lots of walking and visiting and checking out fun and fascinating places without a deadline - and I will miss that a lot. (NOTE TO SELF: get your ass out walking around our own downtown 2-3 times every week!) And another part of the ache has to do with knowing how much I will miss the quiet time I've had for myself: lots of reading and even a few nights wandering about checking out wild ass blues bands.
But I suspect the biggest challenge for me to re-entry from this vacation has to do with making sure Di and I find and maintain a time for play when we return to normalcy. After my addiction to work nearly ruined our life in Arizona, I learned to reorder things with a profound commitment to being playful. Mostly I'm still good about this commitment, but last year things got a little too intense. So, I know I need to find a better balance this year in ministry so that I don't take myself too seriously. There needs to be time every week to savor the beauty of creation with Di.
Tomorrow, after spending the morning in Ottawa, we head back to the US. We'll go to Dianne's family's cottage near Watertown, NY for 2 nights - and that will be gentle and quiet. We'll pick up our old, goofy 15 year old dog, Casey, too. And then on Friday we hit Pittsfield and hit the ground running... It has been a blessed time and I am grateful.
Meloncholia is an odd thing - I think sometimes it feels like this poem by Thomas Lynch - something I am glad I feel (because it opens my mind and heart) but also something I might learn to let go of, too.
The body of the boy who took his flight
off the cliff at Kilcloher into the sea
was hauled up by curragh-men, out at first light
fishing mackerel in the estuary.
“No requiem or rosary” said the priest,
“nor consecrated ground for burial,”
as if the boy had flown outside the pale
of mercy or redemption or God’s love.
“Forgive them, for they know not what they do,”
quoth Argyle to the corpse’s people,
who heard in what he said a sort of riddle,
as if he meant their coreligionists
and not their sodden, sadly broken boy.
Either way, they took some comfort in it
and readied better than accustomed fare
of food and spirits; by their own reckoning:
the greater sin, the greater so the toll.
But Argyle refused their shilling coin
and helped them build a box and dig a grave.
“Your boy’s no profligate or prodigal,”
he said, “only a wounded pilgrim like us all.
What say his leaping was a leap of faith,
into his father’s beckoning embrace?”
They killed no fatted calf. They filled the hole.