A simple life. Sometimes that’s what we yearn for, isn’t it?
In our 40 years of marriage, life often has been anything but simple for Papa and me. Changes and issues crop up that seem to prevent a simple lifestyle, but that’s just life in this 21st century.
One of the perks of being semi-retired is that Papa and I can plan little trips away from home here and there. Simple getaways providing a bit of escape from the hum-drum of life and its foibles.
This past month, we took an extended weekend trip south where our first-born daughter and son-in-law live. With middle daughter and granddaughter ensconced in the back seat of our vehicle, we left home on a Thursday morning to travel to a place we wanted to visit first, then would head to first-born daughter’s home the next day for the remainder of our trip.
Celebrating our daughter’s birthday was on the agenda and just spending time together was the priority. Simple, right?
Our simple trip didn’t start out simply. We managed to leave exactly at the time we decided upon – no easy feat with a toddler in tow – but as we were tooling down the highway, middle gal mentioned that the back of the vehicle was shaking. Matter of fact, granddaughter’s car seat was even vibrating.
About a week prior to our trip, Papa purchased new tires for said vehicle. And just the day before we left, he had taken it in for a wheel alignment. Something obviously was very wrong.
So we turned around and headed back to the tire shop where the service had been performed. An hour and a half later, we were on the road again. Back to our simple trip.
Well, traveling with a potty-trained three-year-old isn’t that simple. Our trip consisted of numerous potty break stops, lunch and some time at the playground, more potty breaks, snack breaks, and then a lengthy dinner stop.
Finally, we arrived at our destination – a trip that should have taken seven or eight hours ended up being 12 hours long. It was late, we were all tired and relieved to check into our hotel (where we had a reservation) and collapse into bed.
Papa walked inside the hotel and up to the registration desk to check in while the girls and I waited in the car for him to bring us the luggage trolley. We waited and waited. And waited. Finally the entrance doors whooshed open and Papa stepped out.
Apparently, our reserved room had already been given to someone else, so the night clerk searched for another room to accommodate us and this seemed to take way too long. By this point, a bit of stress was beginning to raise its ugly head. This simple trip was undeniably becoming anything but simple.
After breakfast the next morning, we loaded up again and traveled the few miles to our sightseeing stop – a Shaker village from years gone by.
Something peaceful descended upon me the minute we stepped out of our SUV. Few cars sat in the parking lot. The scenery was lovely. Verdant green countryside enveloped in quietness. Simplicity. At last.
We spent the day learning more about the Shakers and their simple way of life as we walked down a tranquil limestone road. We learned about their beliefs, their music (we even practiced a Shaker ‘dance’ with the help of our tour guide), their farming methods, and their self-sustaining way of life.
We walked through the village noting several of the buildings being restored and entering those that were open for viewing. Little One enjoyed the animals, especially the baby piglets. We ate a simple lunch we had packed consisting of peanut butter sandwiches and fruit, listening to bird chatter and not much else.
A light rain fell for a brief period but didn’t hinder our tour. We climbed aboard for a wagon ride led by two beautiful draft horses and heard more about the Shaker life style as we toured the area and learned the Shakers had owned about 6000 acres of land there.
And as we settled ourselves back into our vehicle to drive to first-born’s after a simple day of peace and tranquility, this song echoed in my mind.
‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right. ~ Lyrics by Joseph Brackett
A simple visit to a simple place. It caused me to turn ’round right for the rest of our trip.
Simplicity. You can find it, if you try.
“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.” ~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden