A vacation trip, no matter where we go, how far, or what we do when we get there, can energize and refresh us. I’ve found that the key to this benefit is a change from everyday normality, taking a break from jobs, houses, cars, and worries both trivial and significant. For me, a vacation means getting away, leaving, going someplace different than home, at least for a while.
Another thing about vacations is that they always end. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be vacations.
I try to spend my summer vacation in another climate, landscape, or city. This summer I went to Minnesota for three weeks to visit family and friends, explore the Twin Cities, drive north to a cabin on Lake Superior.
Time flew by and all too soon I’m on the way home, strapped in a narrow seat eating stale pretzels. As the flight begins, I savor random moments from my holiday; laughing at family gatherings, swimming in Lake Superior, walking along the Mississippi riverbank, reveling at the seemingly infinite blue of a Midwest sky.
But as the flight continues my mood darkens. I wish I could have stayed longer, curse the mosquitos whose bites still itch, and regret missing the museum I meant to visit. I console myself with a new mantra, “Next time.”
By the final hour of the flight, I’m already thinking about work and household tasks I’d left behind. My mind ricochets backward to Minnesota, forward to Houston, and soon it is time to buckle seat belts for landing.
As I leave the gate, the airport irritates me: a limbo of stale, too-cool air, too-bright lights, loud and garbled announcements, long halls, long lines, too many people. I thread my way to baggage claim, wait for the carousel to begin its cycle, wade into the melee for my bag.
With part of me still in Minnesota and a roller bag trailing behind, I walk to the exit and pass through its thin glass door.
Out of the airport and into Houston.
With that first
Why does the heat surprise me every time I arrive? After living here t
I’m told that everyone experiences heat and humidity differently. To me, stepping out of the cool airport seems like walking into a wall – a porous wall, one that has no other side. Or maybe the experience feels more like a curtain dropping over me.
Yet the Houston heat feels good on my skin, cold from the conditioned environment behind the glass door. My pores grow larger as moist, warm air encircles me.
Breathing deeply, I welcome the heavy air as it circulates through my body. When I exhale, air leaves my lungs but warmth stays behind. I can feel my insides – blood, tissue, muscles – relax.
All at once I’m glad for the comfort of this mantle. My dark mood brightens. I enjoyed being away, had a great break, and it’s good to be back.
Home again in Houston.
Gerry Moohr is a writer living in Houston. A former writer of academic essays for law reviews, she now writes creative essays for literary journals. To ease this transition, she participates regularly in writing workshops at Inprint, Grackle, Boldface, and WriteSpace.
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Feature Image by Urban Paths Houston