The unscheduled sabbatical…
Not only is it a good thing to get away sometimes, but in doing so the last two days I have received exactly what I would have worked towards if I had not, without the stress or angst of such important benchmarks.
After a full week of hectic production schedules and academic pressures, I decided to take an unscheduled sabbatical (which I have decided will become a title of perhaps another book to be written soon…) and unplug from the routine of my life, in order to enjoy my life more.
On Friday afternoon my husband called asked me for a date. Tired, but eager to share some time apart from work or studies, or the topic of murder…I accepted and began the hour and 15 minute drive home.
In the ride of enjoyment, the slick and dampened streets of the city eventually gave way to the asphalted bumpy roadways of my personal sanctuary and I pulled into my driveway and parked… but only for a moment. My husband, anxious to be about the adventure, waved from the deck enthusiastically– acknowledging my arrival and without further delay, rounded up the animals and locked up the house.
With the windshield wipers confused about their intermittent duties, I watched through the speckled windshield as the ripples on the lake made their way between shorelines…gently rolling in their exhaustion. Feeling much the same, I waited patiently as my husband made his way across the patchwork lawn and crawled in beside me. Curious about our destination I piqued an eyebrow, but he only smiled and quipped, “Let’s try something new.”
With a quick hello and a brief pause in our weekend momentum to set the navigation system, I smiled as he tapped his way to a foreign address. Eager for a new adventure, I followed its guidance through rain and sunshine down unfamiliar roads and picturesque pastoral settings. Thirty minutes later we arrived at our destination– a restaurant in Locust Grove called, The French Market.
Having met one of the owners on a boat ride the week before, we had been given a modest description of its menu and ambiance–but the owner was decidedly underscored in his narrative. For the weary traveler of the work week, this was not just a nice upscale detour from the common fare… it was Nirvana. Tucked within the quaint historic bricked walls of a renewed old main street diorama, it stood as beacon to relaxation and casual sophistication.
Now, I am not a restaurant critic and the purpose of this blog is not to grant you travel log gratuities, but my dear readers…it was so what was needed at the right moment.
The decor was elevated with a European twist; sophisticated but grounded in its intent and service. The food– a rarity of eclectic flavors blended together with just the right level of spice and richness was as inspiring in its consumption, as it was in its presentation. Between the symbiotic contentment of the background music and the chilled wine, my shoulders eased and the week’s weight sloughed to the the floor. Hidden within the confines of a quiet corner, we discovered the view of a Baby Grand piano pinched in between the folds of a panoramic picture window. Under the creative lighting, I enjoyed my husband’s contagious smile and the eclectic banter of neighboring tables.
Most times we enjoy the native experience of where we live, but occasionally it is good to heighten the senses…travel new roads…break away from our regular routines and throw caution to the wind. I cannot tell you how much the simple experience of excellent food, good wine and carefully crafted ambiance can gift the soul. The adventure was just what I required and I thank the owners for their careful attention to each authentic detail of our engagement.
Now, I cannot lie…
As comfortable as I may have eventually become, murder did eventually share the table with us, in that my mind is never far from the cases it must solve. That being said, as compliment to dinner when traveling through the general store attached–I found just the perfect item on sale.
Not functional, it was a simple piece of gratuitous decor: a rusted old fashioned lock, with an equally old fashioned rusted key stuck inside it. Now why would such an innocuous article of common design be so incredibly significant to this investigative author?
You cannot possibly know this, but I had just that week approved the final cover art design for my book; THE LORDS OF THE HARVEST. And what does the exterior of this epic tome cover brandish? A similar likeness of an old fashioned lock with a key entering it…signifying the miraculous discovery of a key signature element of the killer(s) Modus Operandi (MO) who terrorized multiple populations over multiple decades in all four corners of these United States. This one particular signature element is the key that will unlock the mysteries behind the deaths of hundreds of victims, define their collective accountability and bring closure to hundreds of victims’ families.
I should most definitely think so, for when and where was the last time you found yourself confronted with the very thing in an unrelated arena that matched so intimately that of your current and hidden thoughts? Encouraged…I walked about to see what other treasures could be garnered. A personal favorite was a small wooden plaque which simply read: “Survivor of Shit Creek”; a place I have known all too well.
Next, I found a bracelet that held a silver ingot that held the word FAITH on one side and GRACE on the other. Taking this as an omen from spirit, I purchased both along with a cameo bracelet and in tandem with my satiated appetite for culinary pleasure and spiritual inspiration…walked out the doors of, The French Market of Locust Grove, filled with a renewed sense of my divine mission and my dedication to living in the present.
Continuing my sabbatical, I left my laptop alone for another 24 hours and enjoyed the gifts of sky, water, sunshine, rain and family. The rewards? A chance to appreciate what I already have…what I already know, rediscover who I already love and what has been shared between us. At then end of a wonderful day of non-committal nonsense, I received a phone from a dear friend–filled with information that will further support the suppositions and structured findings within my book.
The products of, “Faith and Grace”.
Grateful for the chance to elongate the umbilical cord between my laptop and myself further…I found a wonderful space in between to remember that there is more to life than work and study. To remember that there is beauty…joy…taste…color…culture and contentment.
Too often we bury ourselves under personally constructed bull-works that bind us to overwhelming obligations and unnecessary deadlines. I am the worst for such- juggling both theatre productions and the needs of the dead. In this unscheduled sabbatical, I have found the gift of renewed strength to continue with my divine purpose.
Thank you to, The French Market of Locust Grove, for reminding me that life is a gift itself and if you are really lucky…some days you are able to find all of the above in one sophisticated little splotch of bucolic bliss!