Column from Mewark Advocate
Lessons from our summer vactaion.
Having just returned from vacation, I was reminded of the similarities between vacations and life’s journey. During this and previous vacations, we have encountered some bumps in the road, wrong turns and detours. While at times frustrating, these unexpected happenings can produce pleasant results. One year, a dreaded detour from the interstate became a treat as it meandered through small towns, past mountain lakes, and offered a brilliant, soul satisfying display of azaleas. Refreshed, we reluctantly returned to the monotony of the pine trees and billboards on the interstate. The brief interlude was like a vacation from everyday life. Another year, the protected turtle nests we passed on our walks on the beach intrigued the entire family. Hoping to witness a hatching, we instead found ourselves actually rescuing dozens of newborn turtles one night after two of our granddaughters ran in with the news that the swimming pool was surrounded by baby turtles. Guided by instinct to follow the brightest light, which is usually the moon over the sea, this night the lights from the pool shone brighter misdirecting the hatchlings. After notifying the official turtle watchers, our family helped round up the turtles, and watched them be released in the ocean. We then returned to the condo to discover a lone turtle on the patio, which our son-in-law carried to the water’s edge and set free to join its siblings. Many times in life, we have guided children on the right path as we guided the baby turtles. This year, 4 generations of our family converged on this same small island in southern Florida. We arrived when Hurricane Alex was off shore and left the day the island was evacuated before Hurricanes Bonnie and Charley were erroneously predicted to strike there. As in life, some rain did fall, and the wind did blow, but in between, the adults and children swam and rode the waves, built castles in the sand, and enjoyed spectacular sunsets. One morning, while strolling with my 2 daughters along the beach, we saw two adult dolphins and their baby cavorting in the water near the shore. We followed them on land for about a mile before they set off toward the horizon. That afternoon, while our daughter and her little boy were riding the waves, the dolphins returned to swim within 50 feet of them. This meaningful moment was a perfect example of parents’ joy in spending time with children. The last day of our vacation, the sky was clear and blue with not a hint of the devastation that would soon hit areas of the state. Newscasters warned residents to board up windows and move inland. Ironically, our oldest granddaughter and her husband, honeymooning on the island, evacuated inland only to find themselves on the fringes of Hurricane Charley as it swept across the state. Vacations, like life, have taught me to expect the unexpected, enjoy the pleasant surprises, do my best to survive life’s storms, and to treasure life and those around me.