Tuesday, May 27, 2014

unpacking from vacation

When I go on vacation, I find a corner of my room for my suitcase, open it up, and let the contents spill out. It was neatly packed when I left, which happened partly out of necessity, since I chronically over-pack. Space is a premium. But then when I arrive, I rustle around to find my pajamas and my glasses, pull out my toothbrush and comb and products to leave in the bathroom, set my running shoes to the side so I can find them for the morning's run. And then it's all a mess of tops and bottoms and underwear and receipts or whatever I've picked up along the way. But I kinda like it that way. I feel around for what I need, and that's just enough order.

I always forget that it's not just my suitcase that gets spilled out. It happens internally, too. Everything gets jumbled, unfolded, sometimes the dirty mixed with the clean. Somewhere in my head I realize I'll have to re-pack and go home at some point, but let the shirt I don't want to wear stay hidden in the bottom, let the books I read sit right on top, let my swim suit hang, drying, around the bathroom or the bedroom or wherever I can find room, so that I can just put it on again the next morning. Let my eyes wander to stars and my legs to the pool and my hands to the cheese in the refridgerator. There is always the going home to fold things, hang things, put things back in order again.

Unfortunately, the ease of unpacking my suitcase when I get home is no indicator of the work required to settle my soul. Last night, I arrived home around 6pm. By 6:45, leftover food was in the refrigerator, clothes were thrown into the laundry basket, books were back in place and the mail that had arrived in my absence was sorted and dealt with. I was home but still very far away, because I missed my traveling companions, felt lost as to what to eat for dinner, and just didn't know what to do with myself. I got sleepy and went to bed early, hoping the sun would bring not just a new day but a renewed sense of groundedness. But I am still unpacking all of the internal souvenirs from this short trip, finding places in my life to display them or store them, a routine to enjoy them.

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