Learning to Relax

Walking into the house, we were struck by the immediate sense of peace the cabin conveys. The ocean seemed close enough to touch; from the living room my sister and I could watch the waves roll against the beach below in a never-ending rhythm.

Our grandmother Mimi had arrived a day earlier, ensuring that the smell of roasting chicken tickled our nostrils and the sound of classical music floated up to greet us.Flowers

Flowers adorned every vacant space, seeming almost to grow out of the carefully hewn wood paneling.

Mimi gestured for us to put our luggage down, sweeping us both up in a lavender-scented hug. Our goofy golden doodle dog, Bozzie, jumped around the three of us, his body writhing with excitement.

Grabbing Bozzie’s leash, we headed down along the ocean. Bright yellow daffodils, small purple violets and vibrant orange succulents lined the pathway. We walked quickly as we told Mimi of our college adventures, the words spilling out as she smiled.

Stopping in front of a Harbor Seal sanctuary, we counted the new mothers and their seal pups. We each picked a favorite, watching as the seals basked on the black rocks. Sea anemones and rainbow-colored kelp compelled us to pause in the tide pools, restraining Bozzie as he tried to move towards the seals.

We came back from our walk exhausted, sinking into the couches as we watched the sun slowly retreat from the windows. Mimi started a fire and we sat around reading our books, Mimi and I enjoying glasses of white wine.Sunset

Eager to learn recipes that didn’t involve ramen, we helped Mimi make dinner, pouring a bit of wine into our asparagus ricotta pasta. After dinner we read a bit more until the words started to blur and we headed to our beds.

That night I dreamt my to do list, my mind running through all of the things I needed to do once I was back to my computer and phone. In the morning I woke up thoroughly disgusted with myself. As a twenty-one year old on spring break, I should not be dreaming of homework and conference calls.

After a day of biking, long walks, cooking and beaches I slept the second night without any dreams. We lingered as long as we could without risking traffic and then persuaded Bozzie to climb back in the car. As we pulled out of the driveway I realized that I had relaxed more in those two days than in my entire two-week vacation.

Although coming back to school today has resembled a slap in the face—homework, meetings and errands leaves long red marks across my unaccustomed mind—I am learning to relax.