Traveling without Children

I can hear the way the wet road plays with the tires on the cars driving swiftly past my window. I knew it had been raining only by the smacking sound of rubber, water and pavement. It’s Saturday and the kids slept later. It was a pleasant reminder of a peaceful morning after a couple weeks of back to school pandemoniam. Mornings essentially rushed with lunches, backpacks with forgotten homework and figuring out a breakfast for kids who don’t really want to eat in the morning. Unless of course I make bacon, eggs and toast cut into triangles. It’s not very likely, I can count on one hand how many times I have made a full breakfast on a school day. It’s easy to make egg whites and everybody in the house knows how. Most days it’s laughable, maybe a waffle and a popcicle. Today they are waiting at bay for me to take them to Canobie Lake Park. That is an entirely different story. Say a quick praise that I survive the day unscathed:)
 
I dream of the ocean often. Once a month at least, the ocean plays through a state of high tides in my mind. I have traveled to so many points of water in my sleep, I shouldn’t be afraid of it anymore. Still it looms and taunts me, teasing me sometimes with the water at bay, seeming to always end with a startle. One of my earliest ocean dreams when I was a child was of me in a Volkswagon bus driving into the ocean and along the ocean floor. I remember the feeling of thinking “How can we breathe under here?” but was mesmerized by the ocean life colorful and trancelike between the bubbles. The bus drove out the other side of the ocean and I was safe. Generally they haven’t played out in such a Magic School Bus format since then. 
 
My dreams start with the ocean in an inviting state. Whether that is the sound, sight or feel in the dream. The ocean invites me to look. I watch from wherever I am like a voyeur with permission to peep. Where I am isn’t important. I may be in a car, walking, or in a random out of ocean landscape, maybe a field or mountain when the tide starts to rise. The waves begin to show more white, like a smirk almost – showing a few teeth. I always start to get a little excited at the waves and the manic way they begin to swell. The ocean takes a breathe and puffs up a little more with each exhale…toward me. I watch the show with respect to its enormity and grand gestures. Excitement and passion for the movement are squashed with the realization that I am in the path of high tide. It is going to swallow me. Sprays of water start to hit my skin, stinging sharply and snapping me out of my dream state comfort. I need to move. The voice of the ocean growing in strength is deep and almost inaudible, although invasive and commanding. The water is consuming the roads, and walkways. Whitecaps cover the stones I need to guide me back to safe land. Where are all of the other people? Sometimes there are people in the background, they never notice I am drowning on the inside before the water even blankets me with cold darkness. Every nerve in my body feels fiery and I have to escape. There is no air underwater, fear of fighting the waves and ultimately floating cold initiate panic. I wake soon after.
 
Early this morning I dreamt of a beautiful beach. The sun was shining and the temperature of the air was perfect for me. The sunlight was hitting mounds of white sand and there were public spaces and buildings made of stucco or a whitened by the sun concrete of sorts. It was quiet and the palm trees and other trees with foliage were hanging still in the air. I sat in a white car and took pictures of the surf with my phone out of the window. I didn’t get out of the car, I just needed to take pictures of those blue crushing waves. They were so warm and smooth as they cascaded in a dance, wildly bowing in pleasure. It felt and appeared to be just for me. Nobody else was watching, they didn’t seem to notice the granduer. The waves surprised me as they always do and crept up deep and fast. I just wanted one more picture of the beauty, my body wasn’t in the panic state it so often feels – I had only a minute or so left before I had to get out of the oceans way. I hung my hand out of the window to get a perfectly smiling wave, I felt the water on my arm and saw it pooling around my tire at the curbside. The phone wanted to fall into the water while my fingers held for that shot for what seemed like ten minutes. I got my shot, I smiled and drove away. When I woke again I thought of that wave and felt like I had seen something really special, and I had proof.

 This may not only be a dream. Dreams are said to be of our unknown, our subconscious, bits and pieces of the real disguised in odd costumes.

I recently came home from a trip to the west coast. My regular readers know that I love the West. If you are new – I love the West Coast and the desert. I adore mountains and oceans where they meet each other like lovers that you wonder about. I am sure that is how I have survived the drudgery here in the East. Massachusetts is also beautiful and New England, as a region, has some spectacular landscape.  

I had taken a risk and asked an old acquaintance to spend some time with me. I traveled alone on this trip–without children or friends. It was exciting as I love to have a plan and a destination and a backpack on my shoulder. I was a bit giddy and excited in particular this trip because I was meeting a man at the airport when I landed. We had a date planned. Actually a few, we were spending five days together.
It was like inviting the tide to swallow me up. I knew it was rising when he met me at the baggage carousel. That may seem silly to you, but it has been a dreamy romantic bucket list item for me forever. A wave washed over me and I was intuitively safe. I knew my kids were safe, I was in California with the cutest sweetest short guy ever and I was doing the right thing for me. We walked and found a car and didn’t stop grinning until we fell asleep much later.
 
That in and of it’s self would be dreamy enough for a first date all together. Due to the distance between us – the solution was to have a bunch of consecutive dates. There was a lot of dreamy and like any other day in my life there were constant nagging fears. I cannot imagine I would have been able to have the skills and confidence to do any of this a year ago. I allowed him to see me completely and if nothing else that means you’re gonna see me cry at some point.
Normally I would say “Really – you can’t be crying on a second third and fourth date!” but again, due to the compact and intense nature of our situation, combined with mine and his personalities you can do plenty.
We walked and talked and drove on coastal roads. Never getting far without a smile or gesture, and we held hands or touched each other constantly. I didn’t take any pictures of him or us during the weekend. I took some landscape shots and Bay pictures out of the hotel room window. I wanted to savor the dream and if it was a dream and I woke up I didn’t want a reminder. It was a strategy for me to believe in the now. To convince myself it wasn’t another dirty trick slung my way, in my mind or in life. I was hell-bent on feeling some comfort and joy and was able to really embrace being adored, listened to, spoken to sweetly and seduced slowly. 
 
Our last day was lovely. I dropped off my friend at work and I wandered around looking at local art in the park. Enjoying the local fauna and doing my own work happily. I set myself up at a  table by the water. It was in a dog park and people were in and out of small shops and a local slanted bar. I took a few notes and I wrote a love letter to be read after I took off later that evening. after I was gone. It felt safe. as not to give up my heart in front of an audience. I love to write and I loved being alone with my thoughts doing something romantic. It was fabulous. We met for lunch knowing that my flight was leaving later that night. The tide continues to rise. My feet are feeling solid and I am only half dreading leaving because I was committed to experiencing the pleasurable and uncomfortable feelings–knowing that I live three thousand miles away. 
 
Waiting at the airport was like anything you hardly ever see on the East Coast and I have never at Logan. We chatted and giggled and held hands. I finally took pictures of us together and knew at least the end of the dream was happy. We kissed and said goodbye and I ran hastily through TSA giggling and cruised to my gate knowing I wouldn’t have to wait.  I could just get on the plane, fall back to sleep and wake when it’s over. When I got there, the plane was boarded and it seemed the flight attendants had gone somewhere. Alone, and looking around I said, “Hello?” It appeared they were leaving me behind. I missed the flight. The last one out on September Eleventh, 2012. I allowed the tide to rush up to my feet and I held onto those pictures. I held my ground. I made a phone call and he hurried back. He found us somewhere to sleep and took care of me, making sure we were nice and early to TSA the following day. I boarded the plane without baggage and with a smile that only says you could fall in love. The tide begins to settle and purr as it drags all of the small rocks down the shore.

 

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