Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A Wonderful Stay-cation

We had one of the best vacations this past week or so. We stayed home. I guess they call that a "stay-cation" in today's language. Since I usually report on my vacations, I thought I would start by simply reflecting on being at home doing nothing.

We've done this before, but this time the weather and the stars and all the karma of the universe (at least in SE Minnesota) fell together to make it special.

We saw two movies in daytime matinees. One Inception, I already mentioned. The other was the relationship flick, The Kids Are All Right. That review will be coming up.

We did three "road trips." First we went to Minneapolis for a tour of Target Field. I have been to some games, but I really wanted my wife to see it. We were both royally impressed and even got to sit in the dugouts. We ended the day with supper at a really good Mexican restaurant in Eagan, El Parian, with our daughter and her significant other.

Trip #2 was to the Mississippi River for an Eco Cruise out of La Crosse and a visit to the replicas of Columbus's ships the Nina and the Pinta at Winona. Pictures and commentary on each of those will be up later. An inspiring day. This was our longest road trip- about 160 miles total.

And Trip #3 was to the Root River area around Lanesboro and Whalen, MN. At Lanesboro we went to see a play at the Commonweal Theatre, Steve Martin's Picasso at the Lapin Agile. A funny play that may also get its own post in the days ahead. We then HAD, absolutely HAD to go to the Aroma Pie Shop in nearby Whalen.

Earlier in the vacation we also had gone to the Rochester Repertory Theater for their Evening to Hang Your Hat On, a series of 8 ten-minute plays.

In between I took a couple of naps, started my running training for the Duathlon at the end of the month and read and rode my bike. In short, it is what a vacation is supposed to be. I didn't even check my work email until I got to work this morning. I am proud of myself for that one.

Vacations, or holidays as some places call them, are true times of renewal and refreshment. They are essential to ongoing mental health I am convinced. Sometimes we do deeply engaging things in travel and sometimes we just kick back and discover what is already right at hand in our own backyard.

Which, naturally, reminds me of a story, this one being an old Hasidic parable found in many variations. This one is from Martin Buber's Tales of the Hasidim. (link.)

Rabbi Bunam used to tell young men who came to him for the first time the story of Rabbi Eisik, son of Rabbi Yekel in Cracow. After many years of great poverty which had never shaken his faith in God, he dreamed someone bade him look for a treasure in Prague, under the bridge which leads to the king's palace. When the dream recurred a third time, Rabbi Eisik prepared for the journey and set out for Prague. But the bridge was guarded day and night and he did not dare to start digging. Nevertheless he went to the bridge every morning and kept walking around it until evening.

Finally the captain of the guards, who had been watching him, asked in a kindly way whether he was looking for something or waiting for somebody. Rabbi Eisik told him of the dream which had brought him here from a faraway country. The captain laughed: "And so to please the dream, you poor fellow wore out your shoes to come here! As for having faith in dreams, if I had had it, I should have had to get going when a dream once told me to go to Cracow and dig for treasure under the stove in the room of a Jew—Eisik, son of Yekel, that was the name! Eisik, son of Yekel! I can just imagine what it would be like, how I should have to try every house over there, where one half of the Jews are named Eisik,and the other Yekel!" And he laughed again. Rabbi Eisik bowed, traveled home, dug up the treasure from under the stove, and built the House of Prayer which is called "Reb Eisik's Shul."
So now I am home where the treasure is. It was fun not having to leave to discover it.

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