Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Getaway

This past weekend, J~ and I drove north, to a bed and breakfast near Northampton, Massachusetts, for a much-anticipated getaway. This was my stomping grounds nearly twenty years ago, when I first began to wrestle with my identity as an individual, as an adult.

On our first night in town, while I reminisced about the old days, not all of which were good-old days, J~ moderated a stressful extended family health-crisis/divorce drama via cell phone. We managed to enjoy each other's company over dinner, in spite of our hunger, exhaustion, and mutual anxiety, not to mention the excruciatingly slow service, the loud and crowded room, the somewhat too-sweet Asian-fusion fare, and the drift of our dinner conversation into the state of the world and the tragic plight of so many of its peoples.

We stopped spontaneously on a busy sidewalk afterward, with sirens and traffic and cold wind and people all around, marveling that in the midst of all the chaos and violence and pollution and eager angst, we can still find a peaceful oasis within each other's gaze.

Last time I was in Northampton, I was still working out who I wanted to be, sorting out where I'd come from, and developing the internal fortitude to find happiness without guarantee of more happiness to come. Until this trip, I've always thought about my relationship with J~ in the context of my relationship with A~, comparing the two versions of my married life. In both cases, my primary relationship focus is the man. But suddenly I saw the even more primary relationship -- with myself -- and its much longer and more solidly upticking evolutionary curve. I realized afresh just how constant and unpredictable is the phenomenon of change.

However fleeting the moment may be, I thought, the moment is all we have.

So we ducked into a jewelry store, partly because it suprised us to find such a shop open until nine -- we had to experience it to believe it; partly for the atmosphere (it was quiet and warmly lit, with high ceilings and ornate woodwork -- a long-ago bank lobby); but mostly to look at wedding rings.

In the next two days, I took J~ to my favorite restaurants (India House, and Paul and Elizabeth's), on my favorite hikes (up Mount Norwottuck, and through the pine forest behind Hampshire College), and on a walking tour of downtown Amherst and Northampton. We returned to the jewelry store, this time with purpose, picking out a matching pair of simple, not-too-shiny white-gold bands, which will be custom-made and mailed to us in the next few weeks.

We can't wait to wear them.

In the meantime, there is Thanksgiving.

Speaking of which, thanks to all of you who wrote me with congratulations on the wedding, and appreciations for this blog. It means a lot to me to hear from you. Wishing you the best this holiday.

5 comments:

J said...

Sounds like a lovely excursion. Was the too sweet/loud resturant "Zen" by any chance? It was similar when we were there a few months ago.

I love "hamp" and miss living there tremendously, but make it somewhat bearable by visiting at least 4 or so times a year. India House, excellent....I've gotten sick EVERY time I've eaten at Paul and Elizabeths. Don't know why, but...now can't go back.

My two faves in the area? La Cazuela (though it was better when it was on Old South Street) and Judie's in Amherst.

Damn. Now I'm craving a popover.

We had a similar ring experience at the Don Muller gallery almost 4 years ago...where we saw the PERFECT rings...we were barely dating then, but...knew, ya know? We didn't buy them, but managed to have them made for us, two years later. It brings me tremendous joy to look at that ring on my finger, and be reminded of...so much.

Happy Thanksgiving!

elizasmom said...

OMG! That'll teach me for slacking off! I have been lurking for a while but lost track of you this month because I've been wrapped up in NaBloPoMo and other participants. I finally took a moment to check in and just wanted to tell you 1. Congratulations! I am so happy for you! and 2. I live the next town over from Noho and went to school in Amherst, so I know whereof you speak when you write about the growing you did here.
Anyway: Congrats again!

evelin said...

Congrats!

I used to live in the area, too ... but I really am posting to say I found your blog last night and spent an hour running through your archives get up to date. I was riveted and neeeded to find out what's happened ... and wedding bells have rung and a fairy tale has begun. Lovely.

Evelin

Amy said...

yes, J, that sweet/loud restaurant WAS Zen, and lunch before we left town was at Judie's (first time I've been there and we will be back!) La Cazuela I've seen a million times but for the life of me I can't remember if I've ever eaten there. Next time, we'll try it, since you recommend it so highly.

I do think I need to go back to 'hamp' more often.

elizasmom, I went to school in amherst too (hampshire)

and hello evelyn, nice to meet you!

Amy said...

I mean evelin, sorry