Funny thing, what you expect is not always what life offers. Planning and thinking about this trip to White Point for some rest and relaxation and refreshment my mind kept returning to a morning walk on the beach with my dog Nova, coffee in hand, listening to and watching the waves crash and roll toward me. The reality was close. I did get up this morning from our beach front cottage and walk my dog Nova along the beach and the waves did crash and sound so spectacular. But we didn’t bring our French Press or our own coffee so we used the instant coffee provided in the cottage. It was foul. But the visual and sound experience was every bit what I expected. Still my dog was not as keen as I to walk the length of the beach so there was a lot of “come on Nova” throughout the stroll.
The highlight, the transcendent moments, have instead turned out to be sitting in Muskoka chairs with my partner Kim listening to the waves crashing against the rocks that are literally 50 meters away from our cottage. The feeling of the fresh air coming from the nearby water, the visual of the waves and rocks, the sound of the water crashing against the sand and rocks, all combine to make this a very transcendent moment. I could sit here for hours and lap up this experience and come away feeling refreshed and renewed.
Also, the staff here have social skills any vacation business would love to employ. Every one of them stop by our cottage to pet our dog, engage in conversation, ask us what we need, answer our every question. The guests here are friendly but guarded, it is relatively expensive to be here so these are folks who likely work long hours with lots of pressures. Here they come to relax and small talk with strangers is not high on their to-do list. That is fine with me, it gives me more time to spend on my red chair, sipping the coffee from the dining room (which is much, much better!).
And I have a great book to read, not one connected to work, so I can indulge in stimulating thought that does not have an immediate outcome related to work. Margaret MacMillan’s The War that Ended Peace helps me understand something I have never been able to grasp, namely what caused the First World War.
Letting go of work, letting go of expectations and embracing the splendid nature all around us is the sure way to rest, relaxation and refreshment. My partner would add, “and you need to get away.” She may be right.