I like hot meals and toilet paper and curling irons.
I spray my house four times a year not because I have bugs, but because I never want to see a bug.
But I just got home from the most incredible vacation.
We went to the Middle of Nowhere.
(Out west they call it Altamont, Utah- but trust me, if you address a letter to the Middle of Nowhere, it will get there. At least it would if they had postal service.)
We had no phone reception, no wifi, no television and no problems.
I'm not exaggerating. When I turned off everything, I forgot about everything.
Or even better- I didn't care. I didn't care about what reviewers were saying or what was selling or what I needed to do, clean, wipe up, wipe out, update, overhaul, patch up, look over, tweak or tweet.
The world melted into the hot desert dirt, into the smell of sage bush burning the air, into the flat buttes of the ancient mountains, into the sound of stars falling out of the sky because it was too crowded with lights.
This became our playground:
For three days we just looked. We looked at the sky and the earth and the mountains that stand somewhere in between the two. We looked at each other. I looked at the reflections in my daughters' golden hair, at the way my husband's brown eyes soften when he sees something wonderful. We looked into ponds and streams to find shining rocks and fish.
The Cowgirl spent almost six hours one day pulling crawdads out of a lake and then releasing them. After she gave them a good-natured scare, of course.
We didn't eat at fancy restaurants. We didn't tour grand museums. We didn't feel the pulse and life of a city. But we felt the pulse and life of each other. A family. All beating in one rhythm as if we found the spot where mother nature's heart pounds and we laid down on top of it just to feel it throb. It was an incredible sensation of quiet.
A quiet so exhilarating I felt foolish for not chasing it long ago.
As we neared civilization, we did some hiking with friends, trekking up Mount Timpanogos to explore a cave. Toward the top my phone started working again and my agent texted me. And I texted back that I was on the side of a mountain and would have to chat later. And I sighed because I knew I would have to text back later and good news and bad news would spill back in and there would be work to do and plans to make.
And I wanted to stay right here- right in the moment where there was no failure or success. Just breathing and seeing and being.
I had no idea how much I needed this moment, until I got it. No idea what it meant to rest. To use up your muscles and wear out your feet and exhaust your body and yet, rest, in every way that truly matters.
Back in Salt Lake City I had the honor to do a reading and booksigning at the King's English Bookshop. It was a lovely event and as I look through my pictures I know that if I tried to live the life of a happy hermit, loneliness would set in in two weeks. I need people. I need to grab their hands and hug them and hear them. I love them. But I look at this girl and I see her happiness and her gratitude at the opportunity to share words with others.
But I see something else, too. I see her worry and the pressures on her shoulders and the way she tries to plow ahead without caring what the outcomes is... but you do care. When you try with all your heart to do something well, you care a great deal.
So I am grateful that I had an entire week entirely unplugged.
I am grateful for the experience so I can tell that girl who worries and feels small and overwhelmed, "Remember the quiet."
I'm glad there are places in the middle of nowhere.
I am glad there are wild squirrels who will beg for peanuts.