Take a look at that photo, of Gina's dogs Ben and Heather, swimming in the creek that ran through my property, on a sunny summer day around 6 or 7 years ago. The day was so perfect Gina still talks about it, usually while lamenting how I sold that house to move back to San Francisco.
But even on that glorious summer day, when Gina was tucked into bed upstairs, her dogs beside her, I was sitting at my computer, working.
I was trying to remember last night just how long it has been since I took a vacation without my laptop, without e-mailing a dozen people to tell them how to reach me.
I have edited articles in airports, blogged with my laptop perched on my knee on a bus, pulled my rental car to the side of the road to post something to Facebook. I've gone back to my hotel room while everyone else I'd gone somewhere with was out on the town, and spent the evening working. I hosted the opening night of PetHobbyist.com's Chat Month last February from a hotel room.
I think it's possible it has been 15 years since I really, truly cut the cord and took some time off. Just me and the dogs, hanging out. No deadlines, no e-mail to check, nothing to write or post or edit or even think about.
Starting tomorrow, I'm taking two weeks of it. I'm going to wake up every morning and ask myself, "What do I want to do today?" If I spend the whole time reading the 50 books sitting unopened on my Kindle and drinking tea, I'll be fine with that. If one morning I pack up the dogs and go rent a cottage by the ocean, I'm fine with that too.
Sometimes I think what I need most of all is room for options, for spontaneity.
I'll probably drop in here from time to time. I might even post, because how long can I expect you guys to go without seeing photos of Rawley Deerhound? But I'll be doing it just because I felt like it, because I love to read and write and blog, not because I had to.
And Gina? I know you'll miss me, but thank you for all those summer days (and a few winter ones!) at my old place. I keep thinking about the gazebo overlooking the creek, dogs sprawling around in the shade, and you and me talking about everything from dogs who don't like the water to the amazing dog camp we wanted to start.
I need me some of that!
Photo: Ben and Heather by Gina.