The children and I said goodbye to the sand, the sea, and the sandpipers late last week. It was hardest for Sage to pull himself away from the ocean, (the surfing lesson and the power of waves were addictive to him) but we were all oddly quiet as we drove away.
We aimed our car west and eventually landed with old and new friends in Asheville for our final few days of vacation. There we explored the mountains and town in a landscape that reminds me of Viroqua but much, much taller.
We stayed on until after Halloween. Then I loaded up (Queen) Lupine and (Corduroy Bear) Sage and we said sweet goodbyes to Asheville.
Within two days we were home, reunited with our beloved Viroqua, our lovely Pete, and our hometown friends. We're all glad to be home and have eased seamlessly back into our life here once more, and yet we've already begun dreaming about the next adventure.
Yes, I suppose that returning is the tiniest bit bittersweet. (It's over? Already?) Sand, seashells, and memories are sprinkled all over our home. I'm so happy to have my family together once more, so happy for my own kitchen and bed, for Home. And yet… there is that longing for just a little more.
Overall the trip was an enormous success. I learned to parent more effectively (being solo for so many days), the kids connected deeply with each other (and have remained so), we lived with less, and we relied on the kindness of others. We lived in the moment and got by joyfully with so much less than we ever imagined. And the kindness of others blessed our journey with more than we ever imagined.
I don't expect it will be long before we are off again.
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And to those of you who took care of us along the way? Thank you. We send so much love and gratitude your way for feeding us, housing us, and showing us around. Strangers, old friends, and new friends. You blessed us with amazing conversations, your insights and field guides. You gave us recipes and books; sourdough and homebrew. You left us keys to your house and sweet notes of welcome even though we've never met. What an amazing community we discovered down the road. To Kate, Chris, Elana, Tiffany, Charlie, Kieran, Sarah, Charles, Maggie Lu, Kelly, Aaron, Aiya, Sierra, Tony, Nettie, Akilah, and all the rest – Thank you. You blessed our journey at every step.