Under orders to retreat

I have big plans for the next few days. Before going to bed tonight I will pack a suitcase full of clothes and a bag full of writing materials, books, crossword puzzles, and a camera. My laptop will stay behind. Tomorrow morning–Friday–I’ll stop for breakfast at a cafe that I normally can’t visit except on weekends, when it is too crowded to be enjoyed. I’ll sit with my bags beside me, eating, relishing the fact that I will not be heading to work. When I’m done I will pick up a rental car, pop an audiobook into the CD player, and start driving westward.

I’m heading to the coastal town of Astoria for a bed-and-breakfast retreat. A bright room with wicker chairs and floral bedding awaits me. Lacy, gaudy furnishings are not really my thing, but I’m attracted to the notion of sleeping in a canopy bed. I hope for a genuinely restful couple of nights. I envision bubble baths in the clawfoot tub, free wine in the evening, hot pastries for breakfast, hiking the rainy coastline in waterproof boots, lots of reading, and being alone with my thoughts. I have a tentative plan to do some emotional purging through writing, but when it comes to certain subjects I’m not sure that I’ll be brave enough to face what comes up.

My travels are often exciting to plan and satisfying at the end, but disappointingly aimless in-between. This, today, is my moment of high expectations and yearning to get on the road. But it’s going to be wet and dull on the coast this weekend. Also I know very little about Astoria, and if I feel like retiring early there will be no TV to watch from my cozy hotel bed. Will these be good conditions for a quiet epiphany, or for quiet insanity? I’ll hope for something in the middle.

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