Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Start of a Fabulous Vacation

So I have not fallen off the edge of the earth, didn't end up in a padded cell after my crazy call month. It has been a crazy winter, and I've gotten away from blogging (obviously). But I'm back, and with far less pressure on myself, and much happier now because we are starting our vacation this weekend!
We have not taken a planned, away-from-family, go-do-something-touristy vacation in years. Needless to say, I have pretty high hopes for this week.

The goal was to slowly make our way to Washington DC to see friends after spending a day or so in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, all the while trying to be free and pretend to not have a plan. But you know what God says about plans. He has laughed in our face this weekend. Our plans were thwarted by a crazy big rain/snow storm that pummelled the south with inches of snow in ludicrous places like Birmingham and Atlanta.

This was what Day 1 looked like.
We started out on Saturday morning headed towards Charlotte and Greensboro, then skipped over to Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and then over to the coast. I was SO excited to get to the ocean that I didn't really care how bad it was raining. I don't know what it is about the water that fills me with absolute unspeakable joy. The smell of saltwater, the sand on the side of the road, palm trees and sand dunes and beach houses up on stilts. I could live on the beach for the rest of my life and be completely content.
We found a place to stay, and a very good place to eat, and then chilled out in the hot tub. Ahhh... I went out on the patio of the hotel, unfortunately under construction, which limited our view, but the sound was what was impressive. I have never appreciated the actual roar to the ocean before, this underlying tenor like a Siren-song, constant and unwavering, hypnotizing. Only today it is accompanied by stormy rain and fierce winds, which added a certain defensivenss and aggression that demanded respect. Although I was standing on the safety of the hotel's patio deck, I was captivated by the power of the water. It felt a little like if you suddenly found yourself in the bear cage at the zoo, logically thinking they probably wouldn't hurt you, but the capacity was certainly there...
After breakfast (and 2 hours worth of weather reports), we checked out and decided to limit the excursions around the Outer Banks to just driving north towards VA. One stop we did make was to the Wright Brothers Memorial at Kitty Hawk, NC. I would recommend it if you are out that way, but do not try it in the wind and rain. Some of the coolest parts are outside and this was not the best day to try to see all of it. I'll post some other pictures from there if I can figure out this Picasa thing. From there, we drove through Norfolk, taking the interstate past the Naval Base in the hopes of seeing some cool ships and stuff, but alas, thwarted by fog and rain again. We finally made it to Williamsburg but the weather was still wet, windy, and increasingly cold, with snow likely coming soon. We decided to call it quits on any more tourist-ing for now, and to head on to DC tonight to at least get ahead of the worst of the weather. I'm really glad that we did.
I'm so thankful that I've grown enough to not have a complete come-apart when things don't go the way I intended. It was frustrating to not spend more time at the beach, to not see the boats at Norfolk, to change plans for Colonial Williamsburg. But I think my greatest expression of malcontent for the trip so far was, "Rats." I don't know what has come over me. Maybe I'm just so grateful to be unshackled from the rigors of a schedule. Or so grateful to get to see these places that I've always wondered about that I just don't care.
So plans are funny. What is funnier is how we react when plans don't go according to plan. Actually, it's not funny at all when it's happening to us. Right then it sucks. A lot. Now, I am speaking for those of us who cannot buy gas or make a sandwich without a plan. Why do we get so wrapped up in making the path lie down in front of us? Can we not go forth and make out our own path, hap-hazard and crooked and fraught with untimeliness? Gasp! How would anything ever get done the right way?

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