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Monday, May 14, 2012

Perfect last day

Thankfully, I'd been watching the forecast, so I knew it was going to be a rainy day. And, oh boy, was it, is it, a rainy day! Last night I could hear the weather changing as the wind gusts brought in cooler temperatures and cloudy, soon to be rainy, skies.  When I woke up it was already raining. The town, at least what I could see of it from my balcony, seemed to be deserted.

I knew I didn't want to spend all day inside. There was one little island town, Sveti Stefan- actually an island hotel complex, I wanted to see. After lying comfortably in bed for awhile listening to the rain, I got myself ready to face the elements.  I went to get information from the hotel owners, who at 10 AM offered me some local wine. Figuring it was my last day of vacation, I accepted, though I declined a second glass when a new full 2-liter Coke bottle of local wine was brought out.  After drinking my wine and getting directions to the proper bus station, I set off. It wasn't raining too hard and I had my umbrella anyway.

When I was dropped at the Sveti Stefan bus station above the actual town, I took stairs, a lot of stairs, all the way down to the beach. "These will be fun going back up!"

Arriving at the beach, I took what could be my last Lightning and Finn pictures.  I walked along the beach and tried to make my way to the island (a causeway to it has been built), but was told that I wasn't allowed because I'm not a guest at the hotel. "Whatever," was my reply as I walked away, not too concerned since I saw a path through some cypress trees ahead of me. I took the path, which led me up through trees overlooking the water and then back down towards another beach or... an olive grove. The rain had been coming down off and on. Conveniently, when I arrived at the grove, it was off.

This morning I had put cards and letters I  received from friends and family before and while I was away in my purse. As I walked through the grove, I read each one. As I'd decided to do yesterday, I also apologized to the trees, though I didn't hug them. They were a little too wet for that.

After reading my letters, I knew I was ready to go home. I put the letters back in my bag, thanked God for my friends, my family, the experiences of the last 8 1/2 months, the peace of the present moment, and asked God to keep us all mindful of the gift of Grace, a gift we too often forget that we, all of us, have been given.

 I retraced my steps back to the beach and up the many stairs.  The rain was coming down pretty hard as I waited for the bus to go back, but I stood there waiting with a smile on my face, knowing that if it had been a sunny day or if I'd been allowed on the island I wouldn't have had my going-home ritual in the olive grove.

By the time I arrived back in Petrovac, the rain was, well, it was enough to keep the streets flooded. I stopped at the first restaurant on the side of the street I happened to be on, got a bite to eat, and walked back to my hotel in the still heavy rain.

"This is like Nablus rain, but not as cold. This is like Indian rain, but not as hot," I thought to myself, thinking I sounded a little like Goldilocks.  Rain like this would bother me on other days, but today it reminded me of the places I've been and I was perfectly content to walk in it, drenching my shoes and my clothes, despite my umbrella.

I have spent the rest of the afternoon, much of it snuggled in a blanket to warm up, listening to the rain outside. I'm not bothered because I can't be out and about. I've had a wonderful last day. I've had a wonderful journey. I'm ready to go home.

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