Duchesse at Passage des Perles recently wrote about contrasts in the pace of life at different times in history. This made me think about slowing down the pace, and the restorative quality of unstructured time.
Since I posted a couple weeks ago about the causes of depression, I’ve been even more aware of my need for rest. For me, nothing feeds emotional and mental distress like doing too much with too little rest. I need “white space” around the bursts of activity in my life. Is it that way for you?
Last year I had the good fortune to take three “staycations”—trips within a few hours’ driving distance—all by myself. One was a two-day, two-night adventure to Glacier National Park in northern Montana. That’s a picture of the park, above.
At Apgar Village, inside the park, you can rent a tiny cabin for less than a hundred dollars a night. There’s one below. They’re spotlessly clean and have kitchens and everything you need. No televisions or phones. Internet? No way, Jose.
I got to my cabin on a Friday night. It was already dark. After I unpacked, I cast around feeling lost without my computer. Pretty soon, though, I put on pajamas and crashed into the blissful bed. I woke up around midnight and read books and played around with a new set of pastels and some mandalas. Then went back to bed.
In the morning I had oatmeal from home and coffee from my little kitchen. Then I went on a hike to the place below: Avalanche Lake. I can’t describe the beauty, so I won’t try. There were quite a few people hiking there, which was good, because I’m not keen on walking alone in grizzly bear country.
When I got down from my hike, thrilled at the beauty I’d experienced and worn out from the exercise, I was ravenous. I went to the Lake McDonald Lodge and got a huge, juicy hamburger to go. With fries. Here’s the inside of the lodge.
I toyed with the idea of going on a boat tour of Lake McDonald, but was feeling anti-social. I bought a book on women in western American history from the gift shop, and then went back to my little cabin at the end of the lake. I took a shower, and then a nap.
Later that evening, I went out for a bike ride, had dinner from my little refrigerator, and fell asleep reading my new book. The next morning, it was time to go home.
This was a fondly remembered stay-cation. I’ve learned that these elements help me have a good and restorative trip: Nature. Opportunity for vigorous exercise. Quiet. Opportunity for lots of sleep. Comfort. Good food—either brought by me, or not. No phones, TV or Internet.
I’d like to encourage all of us to do what we need for rest, in whatever quantity we need it. Even though my trip to Glacier was not expensive, I need to spend less money this year. With the right attitude, I could even do one in my house.
Have you taken a restorative trip by yourself, either near home or far away? What did you do? Would you do it again?
photos from www.photobucket.com