Two years ago we spent a wonderful week at a beautiful house on Great East Lake in Maine. This year we got to go back for another week-long vacation. It was even better the second time.
I didn’t write a single word while we were there, but I did get in a lot of sketching. I think I made at least one sketch a day except for the last day when I was busy tidying up before the next guests arrived to take possession.
I don’t think I can write a coherent chronological narrative. The hours and days all slipped into each other, one long, relaxed stretch of peace. But I’ll provide some highlights from the week. (It’s been more than a week, almost two since we came home, but transitions are hard and so is choosing photos. My mosquito bites haven’t quite faded, though.)
I brought my laptop, but never took it out of the bag. I also brought my gigantic reading pile and did make progress in most of my current books and I also completed two fun reads— Guards Guards by Terry Pratchett and Venus in Copper by Lindsey Davis— as well as dipping into the first couple chapters of McCullough’s 1776. (I found the latter two books on the bookcase at the lake house. I’d forgotten how much fun Lindsey Davis is.)
Hours spent reading books, drawing, playing games with the kids, napping, staring at the water. It was all very restful.
While school was suspended for the week, we did get in a bit of informal nature study, of course. We saw several new to us species. Most exciting were a snapping turtle at the side of the road on our way home from Mass on Sunday and a luna moth which banged up against the glass door one night as I was reading and then was still perched on the door frame the next day, allowing us all to get a close-up look. We saw and heard the nightly chorus of our friends the loons with their haunting cries– which had an extra special glamour now that we’ve got a close up peek at their nest with our friends the Swallows and Amazons and D’s in Great Northern. (How excited we were the day we realized their Great Northern Diver was our common loon.) We also saw chipmunks and ducks and butterflies and fish.
I taught the kids to play chess. After just one lesson Ben taught Anthony how to play and they were off. Well, there were a few gaps in Ben’s knowledge of the game, but that didn’t hamper their fun. Sophie say how much fun the boys were having and asked to be taught how to play. And then had to correct Ben and Anthony’s play, which kind of took away some of the fun.
Dom taught them how to play Uno and they all had some rousing games.
We all completed a 1,000 piece puzzle. I beat Dom at Scrabble. We celebrated two family feasts: Bella’s baptism day, and Anthony’s name day.
Bella got to sleep in a room all by herself. And experienced homesickness. She also lost two teeth. (One of which was truly lost, I’m not sure how, and the other she put under her pillow but sadly the tooth fairy was somehow unable to find us in Maine.)
My sister was visiting for the first part of our visit and so got to experience some of the peace of a Maine lake vacation. (Somehow I managed to take not one really good picture of her at the lake.)
Ben got to receive his second holy communion at St Anthony’s parish.
I got to remove five stitches from Lucy’s face. (The urgent care doctor who stitched her up after she bashed her face against a stool said they needed to be removed after five days and no later. When I explained we were going to be in remote Maine, far away from our doctor and unsure where any urgent care office was, he gave me a suture removal kit and instructions on how to do it.) I accidentally cut both sides of the knot on the last suture and my sister had to help me find the end. My eyes aren’t as good as they used to be and I didn’t have my good tweezers. But we did get them all out and Lucy is healing nicely.
The kids went swimming every day. We had a “bonfire” and roasted marshmallows. They got to explore a whole new library of books.
We enjoyed living for a week in a house that is much larger and less cluttered than our own house.
We watched the sun rise and set over the lake. We enjoyed the peace and stillness of true rest and recreation, away from our usual routines, enjoying a true vacation.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.