When I woke Sunday morning, “In my bed again” to the tune of Willie Nelson’s “On the road again” was singing in my head. I’d heard the latter just a few days earlier in Mexico when my son and grandson crooned along with Straight No Chaser’s cover of the song, their fine harmonies rousing emotion within me about these two in particular, but also about my whole family with me on this holiday. It reminded me of how the bus driver started each day’s drive on my Britain tour last fall with that song too, which had made me wistful as it was more of an anthem for Helmut than for me, frankly, me never being “on the road” in quite the way he was in his work and pleasures, but I was “goin’ places that I’ve never seen” in both Mexico (we were on our way back from a day at a cenote) and Britain and he wasn’t.
A jumble of resonance in other words, waking safely back in my bed with that tune, but feeling not quite home yet, remembering my feet on cool tile, then springing up to the most wonderful view, throwing on clothes to go watch the sun rise over the ocean, cup of coffee in hand, a sight especially spectacular whenever there were clouds, and then the water shifting throughout the day from blue to teal/green. A view with the best sound effects as well: the endless crashing of the waves against the shore wall of the place we stayed, the breeze through the palms, the happy noises of conversation and children at play.
Only one week, most of it spent in bare feet, but the 17 of us had a seven-bedroom house to ourselves, along with a cook and staff, and three times a day we ate together and other than the day at the cenote we were together at the house and local beach, playing the waves, playing in the sand, playing in the pool, playing games, reading, visiting. The son with a longtime habit of a bowl of cereal for night snack found the cereal in the kitchen and thereafter, we were all doing it, in cups or bowls, every evening. Stuff like that and more.
Time is time and technically the same measure, but this was time that expanded and is now rounded into a large set of memories I’ll be treasuring a long time. I’d determined to do this event subsequent to Helmut’s death, and two years later and post Covid restrictions, it was finally possible. My personal theme for the week was gratitude, and it wasn’t hard. No, gratitude this week wasn’t hard at all.