Friday, April 2, 2010

being alone: my 2 day getaway

As you may already know, I had the opportunity to go with Zac to Logan for 2 days while he had a work conference to attend. And although, yes, we had lunch and dinner together as well as uninterrupted talking time on the way there and back, and a quiet night together (which were all wonderful) - it was, more than anything, a time for me to be alone. I can't even remember the last time I was completely alone like this. It was so refreshing and restorative. I love my husband and loved having time with him without the clamoring of children. And I love my kids immeasurably. There is no doubt about it. But I also love quiet. And I love the stillness of solitude.

What I realized over and over again throughout my 2 days alone was how wonderful it was not to have anyone waiting for me. At home, even when I go do something alone, I know there is someone at home waiting for me to get back. Even out with friends, or with Zac, or whatever, there is always this subtle pressure that I never even knew existed. Getting dressed, going somewhere, doing something, even going to the restroom - there is always someone there waiting for you.
It was an incredible relief to have time all for myself. Nothing I had to do. Nowhere I had to be. No one wanting anything of me. Amazing.
So, we got to Logan just before 8 am and Zac went to his conference. I had to wait until 3 (or 1 at the earliest depending on room availability) before I could check into our hotel. And I would meet Zac at 12 for lunch. So, first I went to the Logan LDS Temple and did temple work there. It was peaceful and beautiful.

And then I wandered around the temple grounds taking pictures. It was so nice.

After that, I found the Logan library and spent some time reading and writing there. The weather was cold and snowy so I was glad to have a warm quiet place to hang out. I had my bag with all the essentials: 2 books to read (an extra in case I tired of the first - haha), my journal, good pens, my camera, gum, a blank notebook, and my ipod. So I was quite content to hang out wherever. :)

Here are some pictures of the snow. The top and bottom pictures on the left are of basically the same view out of the hotel room window - the top from the next morning, and the bottom one from later on in the morning as the fog lifted. And surprise! There were mountains there that I didn't know existed! I've never been to Logan before besides driving past it on the way north, so I didn't know what was even around. Interesting.

Anyway - Zac and I had lunch at a little diner, he went back to his conference and I sat in the hotel lobby pestering the guy there to please let me check into a room early. After about 20 min, they found me a room. Yay! So I checked in and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.
That evening we went to check out this antique bookstore that I had seen earlier and wanted to see. And I bought a book of children's poetry for $6 that I've wanted for some time. And we had a great time pointing out interesting obscure books to each other. My kind of date! :) We had dinner at a nice restaurant, thanks to his work allowance. And then we were so full, we rolled ourselves back into our room and digested a bit before going to the fitness room to try to work off some of those calories. He ran. I tried out an elliptical machine (for the first time) and then swam in the pool. So nice.

I found this bookstore so fascinating (and I went back again the next day to browse some more - and take pictures - hahaha). It was like a library/used book store gone out of control. Books up to the ceiling and stacked in random piles all over the place. I loved it. I especially loved the antique books. I really like new books, the smell of new pages, creasing a new book spine. But I also love really old books - especially after reading 84, Charing Cross Road where the lady orders books from a bookseller in London and loves the passages marked by other people, and the pages that are so well-loved that the books fall open to them. The history that a book has been through, thinking about all the other people who have loved, marked and handled a book is fascinating to me. I know I'm just sentimental. That's okay.
Anyway - that pic on the bottom right of the set of green books is an almost complete set of the Harvard Classics (it was only missing one volume out of the 50). They are long out of print and not easy to find, so it was kind of exciting to see. The guy in the bookshop didn't know for sure how much it would sell for (he said I could call the owner if I was interested) but I know from seeing old sets of them online that it would probably be at least $200. How I wished then for a spare couple hundred bucks. Sigh. Oh well. Someday. :)

Another thing I realized while away is how much I truly love and adore my king sized bed. I almost wanted to title this post "spoiled by the king, and disappointed by the queen." The hotel room had a queen size bed (well, 2 actually, but that's irrelevant). The point is, I rolled over at some point, sadly overestimating the size of the bed, and fell completely off. My back hit the corner of the solid-surface topped nightstand and I now have a super nasty 3-4 inch sized bruise on my back. Ouch.
That was the only "sore" spot of the trip, if you will. ha.

Anyway - the next morning, I slept in while Zac got up and went to his conference. I went swimming again. I wrote in my journal and laid on the bed watching the snow out the window until it was time for me to check out. Zac and I grabbed some lunch. He went back to the conference. I went back to the bookstore. Then I came back to the hotel lobby because I figured that was as good a place as any to hang out for the remaining couple hours I had. I read some more until I got sleepy. And then I listened to some relaxing cello concertos on my ipod and dozed off in front of the lobby fireplace (it was a very cozy lobby). Zac got out of the conference early. And off we went.

I have to say the time went far too quickly and I would need about a week of that to truly get enough of it. But it was so good. I can't say I had any grand revelations about my life or self-discoveries or anything. But I did write 12 1/2 pages in my journal (catching up on a lot). And read about 100 pgs of The Mill on the Floss (which is a sloooow-going book for me). And took too many deep cleansing breaths to count. Ahhhhhh . . . sweet precious solitude. I definitely need this more often.
(Finally, I leave you with these cool pictures of a tree at the temple. I was having fun tinting it different colors and couldn't pick just one. The original sky was gray, of course.)
And now, Easter weekend is upon us! And our Spring Break is next week. I can't believe it's here already. Such fun. :) Hope you all have a glorious weekend, as well.


Jennifer said...

I love Logan. It is really beautiful. I've begged Kenneth to ask to go to a conference so I can go with him and have some alone time. It hasn't happened yet, but I do long for it. I left my book club book at home. I can't believe it because I know I had it sitting out ready to go. I think I will need more than the few days before book club to read it. I'm glad you were able to have that time. That's so great.

Alyssa said...

SO glad you got away. Your post made me miss our company retreats...those days are gone. I guess we still need to plan up our own once-a-year parents get-a-away. You're right it is refreshing in a way nothing else can be. Thanks for the great reminder!

Colleen said...

That sounds really nice. And I looove bookshops. If I'm ever independently wealthy, I'm going to have one of my own. I went to one in Tempe Arizona a few years ago on a business trip and they had a resident cat. Mine will too. :)

bonitinha said...

That sounds just perfect!!!

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