I need to write in my journal more often. I enjoy going back and reading about things that I have experienced. If I don't write them down they slip away into memory and squeeze together, like thin sheets of sediment compressed by time into a single massive whole. I remember the really major events, and I remember a general sense of the tone of each time period, but details get blurred or lost.
I'm on vacation. The last time I took a vacation was two years ago, right before things got really bad for Gregory. I've not wanted to leave him since then, afraid that without me to be his rock, a bad day could be disastrous.
My amazing husband gave me a precious gift for Christmas that touched me so much. He asked "When was the last time that you spent time alone in the woods and mountains?" I truly couldn't remember! His gift to me was a vacation by myself, that he would pay for and make possible, while he stays home and takes care of Gregory and the house and everything. At first I objected, of course, that I couldn't possibly leave. Gregory would have homework and appointments and want to go places and need me...but my eyes lit up when he said it, and I knew how much I wanted and needed this. I hadn't known I needed it until Jeremy said it, which amazes me. He knows me so well and offered me something that it hadn't even occurred to me I could ask for.
I've been Gregory's support structure for so long and I am exhausted from it. He came back to live with me so messed up, mostly from his dad and his aunt, but a lot of things converged at once and he sort of broke. I've been holding the pieces together and trying to teach him how to put himself back together. I've gone back to my own counselor from time to time because I need to untangle my complex thoughts and feelings about the whole situation, and Jeremy is wonderful about supporting me emotionally day-to-day, but few things recharge me like wandering alone in the woods.
One of many things that I dislike about where I live is that there are no healthy, lonely forests that I can wander in close by. There are parks, sure, but they are rather trampled and always full of people. I can't spend an afternoon in one and expect to see a person or two, if any. I can't take my clothes off and lie on the moss or splash in the water. The tiny details that I love to photograph, flowers and insects and floating leaves, are often smashed into the mud by so many passing feet. Communing with a forest like that gives me a tummy ache and a buzzing in my ears. It is alive, but not well.
So I'm out on the peninsula. I'm at Lake Cushman Resort, which is cheap in the off season but still open, unlike many places. I decided that a cabin would mean more time hiking in the woods and less time spent on "life support". I like camping, but tents and camp stoves take time. Plus, here I can get wet, tired, and muddy all day, then come back to a hot shower and a soft bed.
I HIGHLY recommend the cabins here. I expected "cabin" to mean what I've rented several times in other places: a solid wood box, a rustic bed with a lumpy mattress, an electric light, maybe a heater, and otherwise empty. For $70/night I have a one-bedroom house, bigger than some I've lived in and quite cozy. There is a bathroom, shower, kitchen, fridge, living room, couch, TV, woodstove, table, chairs, and a comfortable bed. There are lots of windows and double doors opening onto a porch. The "resort" includes camp sites, several cabins, a boat launch and small marina, and a little store. There is a lovely deck at the lakeside that I will probably eat all my daylight meals on.
Tomorrow I will go up to Staircase, in the Olympic National Park. I love it up there but haven't been in years. Usually I drive further North, but I wanted to minimize drive time for this trip. I forget how close this end of the Park is to Olympia! I'm less than an hour from Oly, and only just over two from Seattle. I may spend part of Tuesday down at the beach in Hoodsport, on my way back out, but mostly I intend to go as far up into the woods as I can. I brought a swimsuit and may jump in the lake, something I couldn't do without the nearby shower and woodstove. I brought a painting I'm working on, for when I'm too tired to hike any more, and a book to read after it gets dark.
I stopped on the way for a couple of hours to visit a friend in Olympia. It was nice to see her and catch up. I'd have liked to stay and talk longer but I was eager to be out here alone. I know that my vacation sounds boring or torturous to many people: alone in the middle of nowhere, in cold weather, at an empty resort that is mostly shut down, with no skis or boat or atv. To me, it's heaven. I am so glad to be here right now, so glad that I picked the perfect place mostly by whim, so glad that Gregory's bond with Jeremy is strong enough to make this possible, so grateful to Jeremy for this opportunity, so fortunate to live in the Pacific Northwest and to have such a wonderful husband.
And now I am going to go to bed so that I can make the most of tomorrow's daylight. I'm even excited that "go to bed" means "brush teeth, get in bed" instead of my usual lengthy process of putting away dinner leftovers, making sure G's stuff is ready for school, cleaning the litter box, tidying dishes, turning out all the lights, and checking my 6 am alarm.