…on such a winter’s day.
By Annette Dashofy
I’m sick of winter. I always am by mid January, but it seems a little worse this year. Maybe because the snow and cold started earlier. I don’t appear to be alone in my winter doldrums either. Everyone I’ve talked to has complained about it. My brother recently returned to the Pittsburgh area after a visit to Florida. He told me he got in at 1:30AM and by 1:31AM was ready to head back south.
January is the dark month. The Christmas lights are mostly gone. Decorations have been packed away. Those left out seem a tad faded and abandoned. Holiday orphans. For the most part, everything in southwestern Pennsylvania is shades of gray.
This makes it the perfect time of year for two things: seed catalogs and vacation plans.
I love seed catalogs with their promise of color and life. Plan your dream garden and order today.
However, I know full well I’ll likely kill everything I plant. I start out in the spring loving the feel of earth in my fingers. I tenderly clear away the mulch, trim away the dead stems (should have done that last fall, I know, I know) and plant the seeds. Then it rains for three solid months and the seeds rot. Or I get busy and don’t take the time to pull the weeds that choke the poor hapless seedlings to death.
No, I always WANT to be the kind of diligent, compassionate gardener that my dad was, but it rarely pans out.
Which brings me to vacation plans. My husband’s company sends home a vacation request form every January to be filled out and returned by the end of the month. This year’s form is sitting on the end table like one of those previously mentioned abandoned Christmas decorations. We both know we need to get at it, but so far we’ve only talked about the possibilities.
First off, I’m limited until AFTER the Pennwriters Conference. Much as I might like to, I can’t bug out in the weeks leading up to the May conference and say “see you all later!”
However, in the weeks FOLLOWING the conference, I’m thinking long and hard about packing up my cat and moving into our camper, which by then will be parked on its new permanent lot in Confluence. Ah, Confluence. A quiet little town with hiking trails, a lovely river, a convenience store…and NO Internet or cell phone service. At first, I cringed at the thought of being so isolated. Now the appeal of it is growing on me.
But a real vacation (and I think I’ve mentioned this here before) involves hotels and restaurants and NO cooking. Let the real dreaming begin.
Hubby wants to go to Fort Niagara for a reenactment over the fourth of July. I’m game. Especially since the set up is VERY primitive and you have to apply and be accepted. Blah, blah, blah. What that means is HE will apply, be accepted, and camp under the stars without so much as a tent, while I will check into a lovely nearby hotel and drive over to visit him and take photos during the day.
I’m also permitting myself the luxury of dreaming of Colorado.
Since I was a kid, I have loved the West. I’ve never been further west than Indiana, however. So maybe this will be the year. Hey, Donnell, do you have a guest room for us???
And if Indiana turns out to still be my western limit, there’s Bouchercon ’09 in Indianapolis.
I love the Mamas and the Papas and California Dreaming, but the truth be told, I don’t see myself getting quite far from home THIS year.
I am open to suggestions, though. Where do you dream of traveling to in 2009? Are you headed to warm climes or do your tastes run more toward an Alaskan cruise? Let’s escape the gray winter doldrums and fantasize. Tell me your vacation dreams. Maybe something will strike my fancy.