In Maine, Contemplating the Perfect Sunday
It's amazing the parts of home you miss when you're in the wind—and which parts you don't.
Zach Bowman has sold everything he owns, slapped a camper to his high-mileage 2003 Dodge Ram and has taken his family on the road. His clan numbers three, counting wife, Beth, and their infant daughter. They are touring America, working and discovering, and are sending The Drive periodic dispatches from the road.
It’s strange, what I miss. Our kitchen, sometimes. The acres of cherry butcher block counter space and a refrigerator indulgent enough for a full gallon of milk. A sink so big it seemed made for bathing. More than nine square feet of floor space. Motorcycles, certainly, but the garage, less than I would have thought. Mowing the lawn, not at all. Sunday mornings, definitely.
There’s something about the last gasp of the weekend. Knowing that the week is coming and ignoring it anyway. Spending your time like there’s an ocean of it left. More than enough to float an armada of possibilities. Why not plop yourself in bed with Kiddo and watch a movie? Or make French toast and mix Bloody Marys? Cook and drink and eat until well past noon? There’s time for it.
Our Sundays are a different affair. We’ve learned to stay put for the weekend, lest we arrive somewhere to find no room at the inn. Knowing that Monday is for traveling, we tidy up to make breaking camp that much easier the next morning. Put away the toys and the tools. Stow the camp chairs and tables, roll the awning. Make lists of necessaries: groceries and propane, fuel, and water. Keep Kiddo entertained. We’re busy.
"No part of me clamors for the life we left behind, but our time in the wind has given me a new catalog of requirements for when we put down roots."
And I hadn’t noticed the shift until we spent a couple of weeks with the Costas, our friends in Portland. Watched them go through the paces of their lives, the wax and wane of it. Our last Sunday there was a treasure. Adam and his wife Tracy have two beautiful girls. Inez, a year younger than our daughter, and Greta, six months older. The three of them watched cartoons on the couch and ate breakfast in their pajamas, munching on fruit and cheerios together while Adam and I picked through Craigslist for a new way to hurt ourselves.
And later, the two older girls running around the yard while the youngest sat in the grass, working on her crawl and contemplating the leaves at her knees. Lucy and Greta chasing crickets or riding around in a purple Power Wheels Jeep, giggling and squealing any time the back wheels went spinning.
Something else, too. Extra hands for herding the kids. Keeping them all safe and happy and fed. It’s not a burden you realize you’re carrying until someone lifts the other end to help out. You breathe a little deeper.
When we were in Knoxville, Sundays never felt like a gift. They felt like something stolen. Something we pried out of our employers while they weren’t looking. It’s here, so far outside of anything close to that life, that we can see their depth and bounty.
No part of me clamors for the life we left behind, but our time in the wind has given me a new catalog of requirements for when we put down roots. Chief among them? Long, easy Sundays, and people to spend them with.
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