A Perfect Day

Five weeks is too long to go without seeing a good friend. Especially when that friend lives only forty-five minutes away. What is it about driving in and out of the city that seems so daunting?

But it was finally remedied this Saturday, with a train ride, a car ride, and a stretched-long day. It was the sort of day where you never stop talking, and then, as dinner gets closer, you’re exhausted by the talk. We looked at each other, and we were speechless. Finally.

What does it take to make the perfect day?

  • Coffee shops – with strong coffee, an array of hipsters and business people and grandmas and grandpas talking about who was making the green bean casserole for Thanksgiving.
  • People watching – this can be done in silence or with conversation, depending on your mood.
  • Long walks – around a slightly unfamiliar city, discovering used bookshops on side streets, down to the harbor, around and around until your feet are sore and you forget for a moment what it feels like to sit
  • Used Bookshops – these are a must. Find a beautiful hardcover about W. H. Auden for $8 and carry it in your purse for days because you hope to find five minutes to read it.


  • Roast beef and reuben sandwiches – duh.
  • Random parades – run to watch the parade of cars, trucks, police cars and screaming people. Because winning the state championship for your high school football team is pretty awesome, and yelling out your car, blasting your horn, and feeling like you own the world are the best ways to celebrate.
  • Sitting in fake wooden boats – yes, do this, even though it seems odd. It’s best to sit in said wooden boat until it gets dark, laughing so loudly that the people walking by raise their eyebrows. Tell each other they’re jealous of your joy.

Too much can happen in five weeks to be talked about in one day.

But there’s never too much to laugh about.


A Fall Walk

I went for a walk this afternoon because the sun was too beautiful for me to stay inside. I went down to one of the reservations on the way to the beach. It’s short – only about a mile – and it winds through fields, through the marsh, and then loops around Easter Island.



My parents were out teaching people how to extract honey, my sister was at a friend’s house, one of my brothers was watching football, and my youngest brother was wishing we were apple picking. I snuck out of the house (“I’m just going for a walk,”), and I went alone, even though I knew my youngest brother would’ve come with me. But after a morning at the Farmer’s Market and an hour doing dishes, I knew I needed to be alone.


I didn’t discover anything deep on my walk. I didn’t have any epiphanies. But I did discover a fort someone had left behind. A boy I dated in college told me about a kind of art people create and leave in the woods or a public place, just leave it there for people to stumble upon. That’s what this fort reminded me of – an earth-toned masterpiece.



I liked the memory of people in the woods.


A Tough Decision

A lot of things get decided on walks.

Maybe it’s being outside, swinging your arms, the fast change of scenery as you process. I think it has a lot to do with the combining of mind and body – thought and motion.

Last night, I decided not to take a job.

I was so excited about it. The email came, siren-calling me to a job that I could actually see myself doing. A job that would use so many of the skills I’d acquired in college, but that I knew would challenge me, too. A job that would require the huge move I’d been longing for.

But this same job paid nothing. Nothing. And on top of that, there is a mysterious surgery looming in my future. I’ve been in denial for a few weeks now, but something is coming. Even in my scared state, I actually considered moving halfway across the country to a place where I know no one. I’ll be fine. It won’t REALLY take me six months to recover. Please. This is the twenty-first century.

Last night, I walked quickly beside a dear friend. We went up steep hills (reminding me of my treacherous experience with Philosopher’s Weg in Heidelberg, Germany…too much huffing and puffing for much philosophizing on my part!). We crossed busy streets and were nearly run over by crazed cyclists. All the while, talking incessantly as I tried to convince her and convince myself that it wasn’t crazy. It wasn’t crazy to pick up my life a few weeks after major surgery and move far, far away. It wasn’t crazy to make less money than I needed to pay back my student loans. It wasn’t crazy to think that running away would make me happy.

I wonder what passers-by thought, seeing two slightly-agitated young women, mouths unable to pause long enough to think.

Before we got back to her cozy apartment, I knew the answer.

No job.

No big move.

No adventure.

At least, not the adventure I’d been sure of. Trusting that God knows what I need. Having the faith to let it go, the thing I was holding on to so dearly that I was willing to overlook some huge obstacles. Praying that He would help me to trust Him more. Who knows? Maybe my recovery time will be like lightning, and I’ll find myself on the shores of some distant land, teaching English and sipping a deliciously strong drink. Or maybe I’ll hit my stride as a tea marketer, getting account after account of bridal favors. Or perhaps I will FINALLY find a way to put into words everything that’s been building building inside me.

I think I’ll start with a new flock of chicks. They’re pretty cute.


[The triumphant photo after climbing Mount Untersberg. There’s no better feeling in the world.]