Written by Cathy
I was surprised and pleased when my husband suggested that we celebrate his birthday at a small inn in the country. He had been suffering from insomnia and job stress and hoped that a change in scenery might provide some relief. Restful, uninterrupted sleep was the goal. But this prospect surprised me because John does not, as a rule, enjoy outdoor activities. He does not hunt, fish, hike, kayak, etc. Secondly, we have never stayed at a B&B because he was reluctant to experience the closeness (read intrusiveness) of socializing with other guests. Nevertheless, I was enthusiastic.
As children, my seven siblings and I has trudged the highways and byways of Pennsylvania with our parents to all the state forests and parks in our vicinity. My father enjoyed fly fishing in the sparkling fresh streams while we investigated the flora and fauna along the rocky banks. Sometimes we splashed in the cold pools of the streams but never too close to the ever-intense fishermen. Mom set up the picnic fare under the trees and entertained the youngest of this vagabond clan. This is how we spent our spring and summer days. Nature!
So John and I headed north towards the Endless Mountains of PA. The day was one of those picture-perfect early summer ones–low humidity, warm air, gentle breeze, blue skies. We arrived at our destination in great spirits. The Inn was modest but welcoming with rocking chairs on the wide porch, coffee and snacks in the library, and a smiling receptionist. We checked in and then eagerly set off to investigate the picturesque village and lake. That’s when the gradual, but unmistakeable, change occurred. At first we both enjoyed the architecture of the turn-of-the-century homes with their charming porches and river stone walls. Nature!
Then we turned onto the paths that meandered around the lake. It had rained heavily the preceding day and the exchange went something like this:
“Are you sinking?” my partner muttered. “Are you sinking into the mud? I’m serious! I’m really sinking! Oh man! Look at my shoes!”
A few steps further:
“Did you see the size of that mosquito? Oh, Geez! It got me! Do you believe these bugs? I gotta get out of here. I’m a freakin’ bug magnet!”
I smiled and took his hand.
“We’ve got to find a paved path! I’m not kidding!”
I smiled, and we retreated.
As we started up the road from the lake to the village, he was still muttering.
“I think my hips are locking up! Are you feeling this? I’ve got to walk more. I’m seriously locking up!”
We arrived back at the inn.
“You know,” he said, “I’ve decided a golf cart is the closest I want to get to nature.”
In our room, I paged through a magazine before dinner. A breeze rustled the curtains, robins sang in near-by trees. No television or radio interrupted the idyllic scene. I glanced toward the bed. My guy was fast asleep, his hat over his eyes.
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