Tahoe dreaming

Lake Tahoe I


I need a vacation.

Given that I’m planning a wedding and honeymoon, I know my vacation-energy should be channeled to that . . . but maybe that’s why I need a vacation. Way before November.

I got in a minor car accident a month ago. The other driver and I are both fine, thank goodness, and I know that’s the important thing — but it rattled me. Big time. It was the first crash I’d been in that was really a crash, and I didn’t want to get behind the wheel again for days. I had to, of course; living in the suburbs, I can’t exactly walk to work. Not if I want to get there sometime this month.

So I’ve been going to my “happy place.” Almost four weeks later, my car is still not completely back to normal — despite a handful of trips to the body shop. Thinking about it makes me groan in frustration, so I’m trying not to. It will get fixed. These are just the adult things adults deal with — insurance; follow-up; messes — and I have to just keep pushin’ on. I have my car back, even if it’s not 100 percent, and I realize that’s lucky, too.

Still. Happy place.

Since getting back from California last June, Lake Tahoe has become one of my mental escapes. Though Spencer and I were both sick from the altitude during our 24-hour stay, even we couldn’t miss how gorgeous it was. Like many of the places we saw on our tour, I wish we’d had more time to explore the area — but that’s just a reason to go back!

And I would like to go back.

Like, tomorrow.

Or maybe Saturday.


Lake Tahoe II

Boats


We also stayed in one of the coolest hotels ever and had our own suite — with a dining room table and couch! Which would have been especially awesome if Spence and I weren’t up half the night with sour stomachs, coughing and sweating to death. I was actually pretty worried he’d come down with a legit illness — and wasn’t sure how we were going to take care of him on a bumpy bus as we made our way across Northern California, some 3,000 miles from home.

That’s the part of vacation you don’t see in those adorable trip wrap-up posts, eh?


Mountains


He felt much better in the morning, thankfully — and so did I. Whatever had befallen us in Lake Tahoe eased as we got back to flatter land. And by the time we made it to Yosemite National Park, I actually felt fine . . . despite the fact that we were still way up higher than the swamplands I’m used to in Maryland.

Guess we were just super excited to see some waterfalls.

Ooh, waterfalls . . .


Yosemite Falls


Wordless Wednesday: Monterey, California


I’m realizing I totally slacked off posting photos from our California trip in May — and I’d be remiss if I didn’t share some shots of gorgeous Monterey! We had two beautiful days there, and the seaside town is beyond charming.
It’s even better revisiting it now, in November . . . hard to believe
that was already six months ago.

For more Wordless Wednesday, visit here!


Fresh from the country


Oh hey, y’all — sorry for the impromptu break there!

I haven’t fallen into the caverns of Panama Rocks, though I felt like maybe I could have on our recent trip. Spence and I are fresh from a trip to visit his family in Western New York, and I’m feeling refreshed and country-fied!

That sounds like country fried. Maybe country-fried steak. Mmmm.

So I’ve been working on puzzles, reading (I finished Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South for the read-along! Post coming soon), visiting, crocheting, photographing and generally hanging out. Reality comes crashing back on Wednesday as I return to the office, but it was nice to get away for a bit. Definitely came at a good time.

If I owe you an email or other correspondence, I promise it will be on its way! Going to give myself a few days to get my brain back in gear, and then I’m sure the normal Meg will be back to typing and buying way too much nail polish on eBay in no time. If I know myself at all, anyway.

Sunset is its own occasion

{Cobb Island, Maryland}


Sunsets always seemed like a vacation thing.

How often do I pause at the end of a busy day to savor the pinks, reds and golds of dusk? When do I stand in my own front yard to soak up the fading sun? I don’t drive to take in sunsets when I’m home. I don’t have a camera in my hand. I’m making dinner, or driving, or reading, or watching “Teen Mom.” Or trying to write a blog post.

But on vacation? Sunset is its own occasion. No invitation required; just sit back and enjoy the show.

No matter where we are, I drop everything to photograph those colors — or just sit in the quiet, no camera, as the sun dips lower and lower. Often I find myself sitting in silence, staring at nothing. And everything. I don’t usually talk. As the sun sinks below the horizon, I huddle with friends or family or my boyfriend — whoever is handy — until darkness has enveloped us all.

In my everyday life, I don’t find myself sitting still long enough to watch the changing of light. Cloud patterns don’t draw me. I’m running to the next thing, and then the next . . . and summer darkness signals nothing more than a time to sleep. And do it all over again.

I’m trying to change that — and I think photography is helping me. In my attempts to soak up more of the “little moments” and not worry so much about the big picture, I’m naturally paying more attention to sunsets — year-round. Dusk is my favorite time of day, and I grew up listening to my mom talk about the golden hour as she clicked away with her own camera.

And now I emulate her. Being a complete iPhone addict, my phone is never far from my hands — and it seems I pay more attention to sunsets than I thought. Scrolling through my phone photos last night, a solid 50 percent of the 538 are sunsets. (The rest are food. Or my feet. Or nail polish. [I think I have a problem.])

Sunsets are a moment of beauty in an otherwise humdrum day. And though I don’t often have my DSLR with me to photograph the golden hour, I admire it — and take more time to appreciate it. Watching a sunset makes me feel . . . grateful. I hope I don’t ever lose that.


{Silver Beach, California}

{London, England}

{East Berlin, Pennsylvania}

{Outer Banks, North Carolina}

{Gerry, New York}


Sunset over the sound


Please excuse my beach-fried brain — I’m just home from the Outer Banks and not yet recovered. Coming straight off vacation and back to work doesn’t allow much room to catch up, and I’m currently catching up on email while scratching at a dozen mosquito bites on my arms. I swear, I must have the sweetest blood in the South.

In the meantime, please enjoy this shot of the sunset over Albemarle Sound on Saturday, our last night in town. And I’ll be back lickety-split. (And please send Cortisone.)


Just another day at Yosemite


What could I possibly say about Yosemite National Park that far more talented people haven’t already offered?

That’s how I feel thinking about Yosemite: speechless. Tiny. Powerless. A speck in the universe — one small person, a woman trying to hold up her chin in the shadows of something so much larger than myself. Of all the places we visited in California, all beautiful, it was Yosemite that made the biggest impression on me.

In the weeks since we returned home, I’ve found myself incessantly Googling the park and its waterfalls. I wrote a column about it for the paper. Yosemite is now my screensaver. My precious photos are stacked in folders so I can look at them often, remembering our all-too-brief time in the park. It flashed by in an instant.

Once we made it to Yosemite Valley, a perilous drive on our tour bus from Tioga Pass, Spencer and I practically ran from our group to see Yosemite Falls. I’m a wee bit obsessed with cataracts . . . and I guess that’s an understatement. I’m a waterfall chaser. If there’s rushing water to be found, I will seek it out — and photograph the heck out of it (see: my long-standing fascination with Niagara Falls). I’m most happy standing by the roar of falling water with spray dusting my shoulders.

So how did Yosemite Falls measure up? Very, very well. After walking an easy path up to the base of the lower falls, I could only stand in awe. It’s cliche, I know, but sometimes you can’t look up into the face of Mother Nature and think anything but, “Wow.”



I’m not outdoorsy. I hate bugs, can’t bear the thought of using the restroom outdoors, need a clean bed and pillow on which to rest at night. I don’t swim or hike or climb things. Generally speaking? I’m pretty lazy. I don’t like getting sweaty and am pretty annoying when I’m hot and thirsty.

But put a waterfall sighting within my grasp and I’ll be bumping tourists off paths through sheer determination alone.

Waterfalls aside, Yosemite is a truly magical place. Just driving around on a bus left me awestruck, staring out the windows at scenes like this:



I mean, really.

I’m going to be honest with you: since returning home to Maryland, I’ve thought about why I live on the East Coast. My answers are vast and varied, starting and ending — most importantly — with the fact that Washington, D.C., is my home. The only place I’ve ever lived. The only place I’ve ever known, and where my family and friends are. It’s where I work. Where I’ve started my career. Where I’ve built relationships. It’s where Spencer is.

But sometimes when we travel — taking in other vistas, other views — it’s easy to imagine yourself somewhere else, doing something else. Like building a camp and squatting illegally in a national park, say. Living off the land. Photographing streams. Scaling cliff faces and wandering the Sierra Nevada — a miniature (and female) John Muir.

Sometimes places call to you, grabbing your hand and refusing to let go.

I’ll always remember holding Spencer’s hand as we walked to the base of that waterfall. And my heavy, heavy heart as we turned to go.