I have one more week left in my vacation, which started with a trip to Utah to visit family and explore the trails, and which is now in the “stay at home, get some stuff done, and just relax” portion. Except of course for the whole flood thing.
I adored visiting my family in Utah, exploring the trails in Logan, and exploring yoga studios near Park City. But once the flooding started in Boulder … well, I don’t know if it was that, or if it was just that I’d been away from my husband so long, but I just wanted to get home. I began to understand the term “homesick” – I truly felt sick with the desire to be home. And, ironically (I’m never sure if I’m using that word correctly), it wasn’t clear if I could get home or not, with all the road closures. So, a few days after I was ready to be done with my road trip, I took the southern route to I-70, stayed the night in Breckenridge, and made my way back home. Our house is untouched, other than a soggy, shockingly green lawn. We are very fortunate. I can’t imagine the depths my sense of homesickness would reach if I couldn’t go home again – if my life were changed irrevocably by these floods. It’s hard to connect with the pictures I’ve seen, because of course I can’t drive to the areas with all the damage. When I see pictures of roads and trails that I recognize, it helps, but it still feels like a sick joke; like some tasteless photoshop. A friend has a gag photo of the Flatirons being “assembled” with cranes, planes, and scaffolding – these real photos feel just as unreal to me as the fake one does.
When I first got back, I felt almost like I should sit shiva or something – like it would be in poor taste for me to stick to my plan and do all the things I wanted to get done with this time – getting new liners fit for my ski boots; getting my road bike fit because my knees always hurt when I ride it; getting a bunch of pictures framed, repotting some house plants, etc, etc. My other big plan – to take advantage of hiking and biking on weekdays, when the crowds are thin – is, of course, toast. Another cruel joke. The “magical thinking” part of my brain keeps whispering that I somehow caused this disaster by selfishly, and on such short notice, taking an extended break from work to play out on the Boulder trails.
In the meantime, I see that some people are spending all their time outside of work helping those affected by the floods. I feel guilty (not a word I like) and I feel like I “should” be out there, helping directly (“should” is also a word I avoid). We’ve donated to the St. Vrain Flooding Relief Fund, and we expect to be hosting a friend who can’t get to his home in Lyons soon, and that is what I can offer right now. (But then, what about all the people who didn’t have any energy to spare, either, but their homes are destroyed, so they don’t have a choice? What about the people who are volunteering and offering aid directly to others? What is wrong with me that I can’t offer what they are offering?) As so often happens to me, I am caught feeling that I do not deserve my relative wealth, my intact home, my free time, and so I “owe” others what I have and don’t deserve. And then I don’t give it all away, and it confirms in my mind that I am undeserving of what I have.
Hm. I was going to write about the lovely luxury of having so much time available – of how, without the rush of work and chores and just so much more to do than I could ever get done, I have been kinder to my husband, and I truly enjoy being able to both make dinner for us and do all the cleanup, without feeling that I am losing time I can’t afford to lose. But I guess that’s not where my mind went when I started typing. Instead of focusing on how much I’ve been enjoying my brief hiatus from the office, I had to tell you about how terrible I feel about the fact that I’m choosing to enjoy the time I’ve taken. Mostly, mostly, I’ve been enjoying my time. But I guess I feel like if I wrote about that, I would admit to being an awful, selfish person, and I’d rather have you think that I’m distraught and paralyzed by guilt, rather than selfishly happy.