Our first stop was the Walkway Over the Hudson, in Margaret's hometown, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., also location of my alma mater, Vassar College. A 19th century railroad bridge that underwent a major refurbishment last year, it's a 1.28-mile span with spectacular views of the Hudson River. We walked from Poughkeepsie to the other side, the town of Lloyd, and then back again on a day with blue skies and sun glittering on the water.
Our next stop, and destination for the weekend, was the nearby Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, located in Rhinebeck, N.Y., where we shared a cabin and spent some valuable time together.
As part of a "Rest and Rejuvenation Retreat," I took a Tai Chi workshop, went to a workshop on energy fields and grounding, took a yoga class and went to an event called "An Evening of Poetry and Healing." I stopped in at a hula hoop session; although my body obstinately refused to keep the hoop going (something that came so naturally when I was a kid), I finally got the hang of it. I also had a wonderful foot reflexology/massage session.
I had some time to read and just hang out, so while Margaret was off doing her own thing, I took my book to the cafe, which, unlike the main dining hall, has desserts and sandwiches with meat. It's the kind of place where everyone seems to be reading something about inner harmony or enlightenment or peace and love; I happen to be reading a very opposite book, "The Girl who Played with Fire," the second in the popular trilogy by the late Stieg Larsson. I don't really love the book, but so many people are crazy about the series, I want to find out what it's all about.
I stuffed it in my bag while going to and from the cafe. Yesterday morning as I sat reading it, a woman's voice from behind me said, "How do you like the book?"
I jumped, but when I turned around, I saw that the woman had the same book. She said she had just finished it and enjoyed it thoroughly. We both had a good laugh over our agreement that we didn't feel comfortable reading it there.
There also happened to be tennis courts, and Margaret and I got a chance to hit some balls. I could have done that for hours.
Everything was interesting, but, besides spending time with Margaret, I enjoyed the yoga class most. It was an intermediate class that I almost didn't take, having taken a break from our local intermediate class because I was toppling over so much. I was encouraged to find that most of the poses were more doable than they had been a couple of months ago; I only toppled over once, and it was a gentle fall, not a crash. It inspired me to try my regular intermediate class this week.
I was relaxed after the weekend, but still, it hit me hard that nobody was home when I returned. I knew they wouldn't be, but that didn't make it any easier. Maddie was at our friend Jim and Jane's, so there wasn't even a tail-wagging dog to take the edge off.
I unpacked a little, emptied the refrigerator of nearly-green food and surveyed the remaining contents. The only potential dinner food was an egg, but it had been there so long I threw it out. I wasn't surprised, because I hadn't felt like shopping before I left, but still, I was bummed. Having eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the way home, I wasn't hungry, but I expected I would be later.
I felt the house's emptiness physically, like an ache in my stomach. I started crying. I didn't feel like going shopping with tears running down my face, so I went to a nearby farm stand and bought a tomato. I have no idea what I was going to do with it.
Then I went to get Maddie. Jim and Jane, who are like our aunt and uncle, listened and sympathized. They offered a bed for the night, but I felt better after talking and told them I could go home. They gave me a tupperware container filled with homemade beans and hamburger, potato salad and a beautiful green salad. I came home and walked the dog before the light faded.
While I walked I got a call from Katie, and hearing her voice perked me up.
Back home, I ate the good food and, shortly after, got into bed with my book.
I knew everything would look better in the morning.