Marilyn Englander: A Perfect Vacation

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Want to really get away? How about going someplace where there’s a lot of rain. Marilyn Englander did.

My husband and I just returned from our first vacation in two years. We set out, gingerly optimistic that Covid had eased up, and we scored a bonus — it rained off and on for a whole week. Our hosts apologized for the wet weather. But it was a perfect holiday for water-starved, fire-shy Californians.

On a long plane flight east, we watched the land below slowly transform from beiges and grays to electric green as the plane landed. Fields and woods spread in a lush patchwork beneath us. The heat and humidity hit like a steam bath, but our skin drank in the moisture.

We drove through a dense jungle of greenery under dark, threatening clouds. The sun disappeared, but not because of wildfire smoke. Thunder roared and delicious, gentle rain poured down. Arriving at our friends’ house, we stood with our faces lifted skyward, laughing up into the clouds, licking at the drops that soaked our heads. Never mind the canceled barbeque!

Rain pattered on the roof all night, comforting, reassuring. Every day, we walked in the loamy eastern woods. Streams ran full and the trails were muddy and slick. Lilies of the valley and wild ramps carpeted the ever-moist ground. Our boots stayed wet all week.

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Finally coaxed indoors, we gawked through the windows at the dense greenery. For our hosts who incessantly fight mildew and leaks, we made a silly spectacle. But after spending months at home fire-hardening the landscaping around our home, pruning everything to slim profile, the riot of plant life in the East felt hedonistic. Lime green, sap green, forest green—everywhere the eye rested the plants boasted the abundance of water. I’d forgotten how life rejoices when water is limitless.

True, our laundry never did dry. Our skin turned pale. We missed the sun. But it was a perfect vacation for Californians.

With a Perspective, this is Marilyn Englander.

Marilyn Englander is a North Bay educator.