Vacation means a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday. Yet I am connected with much that is familiar. Right now I am describing the wonder of nothing on the agenda with familiar tools – my computer. The grandkids bustle about in one game after another – that is a suspension of the quiet activity is our usual routine. What’s more unusual is the view: a long slopping lawn to a dock upon a lovely lake.
Doug is across the table, also connected to news and mail. We are both connected to the world via the technology we brought with us. The TV, our little laptops have forged connections for us that were unbelievable even a decade ago. Our son-in-law has remarked on our reluctance to disengage from cyberspace. Only the cell-phones testify to the distance we’ve come, for we are on an extended network. Extended network means we are out range of our network and it will cost extra to chat or text. So, in that sense I have suspended myself from my other world.
One chance encounter the other night led to a wonderful adventure day, after we unplugged ourselves.
We ate dinner at a restaurant recommended by a friend. Our waitress mentioned Black Water Falls in West Virginia as a possible adventure. We decided to explore it and saw some great country. We took yet another hike, this one climbing down 214 steps, and back up those same 214 steps. (http://www.blackwaterfalls.com/) And yes, Doug and I did it – a bit more slowly, but successfully. Kudos to the engineers who designed and built those steps.
We stopped for a late lunch in Thomas, W VA. In some ways parts of the town seem to be reviving – people are opening shops and restaurants along the river. A few of the shops were depressing – projecting a kind of hip hopelessness. One gallery ‘s eclectic displays included paintings of rotting fruit and portraits of men whose age and bearing belied any dignity in humanity. Yet, alongside these displays were whimsical stick-figure prints, pottery and jewelry.
Perhaps this experience, so soon after seeing the splendid sights of forests and falls, God’s creation, was the reality check that even the best of vacations, which this one is, can be windows into hurting hearts.