“Have fun not playing golf,” mocks my Bostonian son, cognizant that I prefer nature through the window. With my destination, a Maine resort, known for its 18-hole championship course, my vacation choice must have seemed bizarre.
What it does have, however, is a “Stress Free Zone,” at least that’s what it says as
you drive between the two signs mounted left and right on brick columns. Could I actually attain that level of peace? The possibility seemed remote since even everyday annoyances have a way of becoming volcanic. The noisy guy at the next table who won’t shut up during breakfast is one example, and I’m sure you know who I mean since doubtlessly you’ve met him too. Then maybe a total lack of stress is stressful in itself, I consider.
Still, I try. The tai-chi instructor explains the proper technique in breathing: first let the
diaphragm (belly) expand and then let the air flow up into your chest like a wave. Okay … wave, ocean, relaxation. And voilà–PEACE; at least, until the end of class, that is.
There are two kinds of vacations as I’m sure you’re aware: #1) the doing-stuff-till-you-drop type where you cram every moment with activity and #2) the do-nothing type. I prefer
the latter since the first leaves me with the need to take a second vacation upon returning home.
By “nothing” I don’t mean sitting on your ass all day, waiting for the sun to set
or watching your nails grow; rather letting the time and pace of your choices flow
with the wind, letting the yin and yang, like the Taoists recommend, balance
out into a soft “Om.” Sounds nice, but did I achieve it? Yes and no, in other
words, sort of. I managed to lower the noise in my head to a beelike hum, but
the damned all-you-can-eat buffet gave me a stomach ache. No, a week with the
goal to eliminate tension, whether physical or psychological, is not possible,
not for me anyway, but I’m always ready to settle. Second best is good enough and
with the hurricane predicted along the East Coast, I left a day early, proving “good
enough” would have to do. And if I learned anything for future reference from
the Stress Free Zone, it’s not to stuff myself with two desserts, no matter how
yummy, how tempting, with every meal. Did my pants shrink, or what?