Time Apart


               It’s a Sunday afternoon, and I’m waiting to hear from my partner who’ll need a ride home from a weekend hiking trip, ventured with a couple dozen other hikers.  After camping out Friday night with four dogs in a big cabin tent in fall like weather, and parting ways at a shuttle drop Saturday morning, it took a 2 hour nap back home to recover after the 3 hour drive to home-base. Here I sit after doing odds and ends around the house all day, listening to the swish of cars passing on the rain soaked streets.  New neighbors are moving into a vacant trailer across the road, and I know I should go over to greet them, but today I prefer to finally sit down and write while the dogs nap at my feet and on the sofa beside me.  The house is quiet and still.  I prefer it this way most of the time, but I’m beginning to miss the presence of another person and the knowledge that someone else is here in this small part of the world with me, together.  He may be preoccupied with his own agenda behind a computer, watching television, or talking on the phone, but it’s still a familiar person within earshot, who can call to me or I to him. 

            I wonder on this rainy Sunday if what I’m feeling is a little like a spouse at home after her companion of many years has left or died. As a mother and caregiver, we always looked forward to time alone where others’ requests and needs couldn’t intrude on our thoughts or tread on our feelings….hormonal or not.  We paid for weekend retreats with other women from our fellowship.  We spent hard to save money on a day or two away with a loved one. We coveted and carved out time, even if in the middle of sleepy nights, to read, write, or just think our own thoughts….some to share and some to put away for another season in life.

            I wonder if my companion of many years is experiencing anything remotely similar to my experience alone this weekend.   Of course, I hope for too much, considering he’s in the company of other like-minded, kindred spirits, who love the out of doors too….as do I….if it weren’t so hard to keep up or press on when physical ailments flare up and worsen, or the cost of animal care can’t justify the time and cost of joining in.  Today I am tired but I’m taking time to sit down and NOT press on….in some ways harder for me than attending to the next thing on an endless list.

            I wonder if my companion has had time or reason to consider that we need time apart, sometimes, but that too much time apart is not a good thing.  I wonder if he’ll come home so tired that all he’ll want to do for a few days is recover and not talk about any of his experience over the weekend apart.  I wonder if I’ll have the patience to wait until he offers a report, so he doesn’t think I’m being too inquisitive for ill-conceived motives.  Maybe I truelly do want to hear stories of another adventure I’ve missed….for whatever good reasons there may be.

I’ve tried hard this weekend not to call too many times, not to leave voicemail messages at night before going to bed, or as the last day of the hike comes to a close.  I wonder if he’ll miss me not being a part of the weekend, or if he’ll find it hard to leave his companions and return to what has been our “home-base”.  I want him to know I can get along without him, if necessary, but I also want him to know he’s been missed.

Maybe it’s just a rainy Sunday with too much time to think.  Maybe everything will be better when he returns; but I also pray for strength and courage and a guarded mouth to meet him again, if he is not happy to be here after all.   Time apart is a double-edged sword that cuts to the dividing point of all things in transition, before all things are new, once again.


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