I’m now back from my trip down south—an eleven-day trip that was as restful as sailing though a hurricane. During my sojourn there, in which all my siblings had also come home, we celebrated my parents 50th Anniversary while dealing with my mother’s illness and topping it all off with the death of a step-grandfather. Luckily I had three good days on the beach and another nice day of hiking in West Virginia (Pipestem State Park). During the trip, I read Walker Percy’s novel, The Last Gentleman (good, but too many characters) and David Shenk’s The Forgetting: Alzheimer’s: Portrait of an Epidemic (beautifully written but about a disturbing illness). I also began reading Robert Coles, The Call Of Stories: Teaching and the Moral Imagination.
Although I go home most years, there always seems to be one change that takes me by surprise. This year it was seeing that the old Adventist Church in Myrtle Grove Sound is now an Islamic Center. Although that was a surprise, the biggest change affecting my life is dealing with the realization that my parents are getting older. I’d always assumed they’d be like my grandmother, who is still spunky in her late 80s and has more energy that many people 20 years younger.
Later this month, I’ll take a long weekend break and head up to Lake Superior, with plans to paddle the "Big Two-hearted River" made famous in Hemingway’s short story. Then, in October, I’ll head back south on business, while taking a few days off for surf fishing along the Carolina Coast.
If being on vacation was like sailing through a hurricane, coming back to the office is akin to taming a tornado.