Today I feel achingly sad.

Has this happened to you?

You travel to a tropical location, wrestling yourself from mid-winter’s fierce snowing grip.

You sip umbrella pina coladas in a pool which looks like it swims effortlessly into the Pacific Ocean.

You reconnect with loved ones, dear family members who live hundreds and hundreds of miles away.

You fly like a blue butterfly from pink to yellow to orange tropical flowers.

And then you wing home to your black and white world.

At first, you’re excited and busy.  You talk non-stop to your beloved husband, sharing all sorts of faraway stories.  You talk for an hour and a half, never pausing.

Then you work hard, hard, hard to catch up on your two part-time jobs. You’re a paragon of efficiency, all get-up-and-go.  You check off one hundred and six items on your catch-up to-do list.

And then, a few days later, you wake up with tears on your pillow, feeling off, feeling bereft, trying to remember what just happened.  Did you dream and now you’ve awakened?  Or were you awake and then you dreamed?

Only flitting memories remain, and their vibrancy and immediacy disappear way too quickly.  Hands you held six days ago are gone.  Hugs and laughter relegated to memory’s fickle shores.  The bright colors–where are they?  The languid warmth–what happened?

Here along the shores of Lake Superior we’re experiencing one of the warmest winters in memories.  Our beloved Keweenaw Bay may not even freeze over.  Ice fishermen fume, fuss, mourn.  Snow does exist piled up outside the doors–how much?–nine inches? a foot?–it’s hard to tell without a trusty yardstick.  Too much to walk happily without snowshoes, methinks.  Not enough to feel like you’re in a “real” Upper Peninsula winter. Today’s high temperature predicts to be 40 degrees (4.4 Celcius).

Even in Nicaragua last week, folks talked about the odd winter weather in the United States.

It adds to my disconcerting emotions this morning.

Readers, never fear.  Do not try to talk me out of my Sunday morning post-trip droopy aching sadness.  This is a long-established pattern among lovers-of-travel.

It’s the price we pay for sprouting wings.

Let there be reflection...

You dream of travel for months in advance.  You travel.  You return home.  And then you say goodbye to your focus, your expectations, your enjoyment, your sunscreen.

You feel blue.  You wait until your life catches up with you, and you wait to see what memories will remain when the reality-of-home settles next to the reality-of-travel.

You take off your wings and pack them in your suitcase, deep down in the dark basement.  You peer at your trusty feet, surprised that they exist.  You unwrap your home-heart, the heart of your hearth, and tuck it tenderly into your chest.

Snifflingly yours this surprising bright sunny morning,  Love, Kathy

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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56 Responses to Sad

  1. Enjoy this part of the journey too!

    • Kathy says:

      Thanks, Laurie. I know this is part of the journey, but enjoyment of it often eludes me! I try to accept it, allow it, make a soft space for it. But it doesn’t feel comfortable…

  2. Robin says:

    Ah yes, the post-holiday blues and I are old friends. I like Laurie’s suggestion to enjoy this part of the journey too.


    • Kathy says:

      It has been so heart-warming to read that so many others experience these post-holiday blues, Robin. Luckily, my blues usually only last 1-2 days. This time it was a weekend. Although my sadness threatened to blow into frustration yesterday when I realized that my comments on other blogs have not been appearing. They are disappearing or being relegated to the spam folder. Errr….

  3. Dawn says:

    Exactly. I always have a let down when I get back to real life. Especially if I was in an exotic place or if I was with family. If it’s both, well, the let down is even deeper. I like your explanation of putting your home heart back in and settling into your every day life. Enjoy your sad day…joy will resurface, even in the UP.

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, you are so right about it being a double-whammy when you are with precious family members AND in a magnificent place. My home heart has settled in already. Although the travel heart is wondering where to go next? LOL!

  4. The coming back to earth and routine of home can be difficult but rewarding in and of itself. You have your memories to take out and dust off any time you choose as well as your lovely photographs. It would be nice to always have family surrounding us like in the days of old when we all seemed to live in little villages…worlds within worlds…and now we mostly seem scattered….this is my experience.

    Wipe your nose and make some hot green tea~or chocolate.

    • Kathy says:

      I miss my family more as I grow older. You are right, Linda, our society today does not support the little villages and interconnected family-weaving. It’s funny, I have a friend here in L’Anse who is surrounded by family and complains how it gets too much! Feeling very much more settled now. Just took a little while… Thank you for your words and the green tea.

  5. Elisa's Spot says:

    sneaks into basement and does watercolors on the wings….dancing oily patterns, ever moving, often at a speed differing from my preference

    all of those stories I try to reflect, should,
    the true always changing

  6. Fountainpen says:

    Wendell Berry, noted Kentucky author and poet, has made the observation that after a plane trip, he allows three days for his soul to catch up with his body and re-enter it……and noted retreat director, recently deceased, American Indian Franciscan SisterJose Hobday once wrote that Indian mothers send their children out early in the morning, after they just wake up…to go for a walk while humming their spirits back inside their bodies…..

    It works!


    • Kathy says:

      I am lovin’ what Wendell and Sister Jose said. Wise people! I think perhaps a ritual of humming our spirits back into our body after travel may be a beautiful gift to ourselves. My spirit and body seemed to reconnect yesterday. When I saw that banana face. 🙂 (And when I saw a certain beautiful Valentine in the mail! Thank you again.)

  7. Fountainpen says:

    PS: Duly noted over these years that you LOVE reflections as subjects for your pictures!!!!!!!!!!


  8. Dawn says:

    Been there…

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, I like the idea (from fountainpen’s comment up above) of taking a long walk and humming our spirit back in our body after a trip. Going to try that next time.

  9. I feel the same way; disoriented and ungrounded when I return home from a trip. I don’t even look forward to sleeping in my own bed, and it takes a while to re-adjust, at least a few days. Many times I’m pining…”I should have stayed longer.” I didn’t realize this was a common experience.

  10. Brenda Hardie says:

    I know just what you are feeling…happens to me every time I’ve ever traveled. It even happens to me after I’ve had house guests…I get the same out of sorts, bluesy feelings when they leave. It happens every Christmas after family gatherings. I too, thought it was just an odd thing I went through. I am much relieved to hear that I’m not so odd after all!
    I love what Fountainpen said about the soul needing a few days to catch up with the body…and the reference she made about the spirits of the children…lovely and meaningful ideas. ♥
    Sending you warm, tender hugs and sharing in your quiet blues.
    Love you Kathy…my dear, sweet friend of the northwoods ♥

    • Kathy says:

      You know, Brenda, it’s weird. This morning I was feeling so adjusted to being back home. But this afternoon I realize that i am still feeling disoriented. It’s like part of me wants to be looking forward to something else… Glad to hear what you shared, and do love what Fountainpen shared, too. Your hug and sweet soul is always so appreciated.

  11. suzen says:

    Hi Kathy,
    Well now, the SuperBowl will just cheer ya right up then? Hmmm, maybe not. Sometimes I really try not to look forward to things, rather just let them happen. It evens out the playing field a bit from hitting the highs and crashing – I know that’s part of the journey and all but the older I get the more I crave calm seas, if ya know what I mean.

    • Kathy says:

      Ha ha, SuZen! We don’t even have TV, so no SuperBowl cheering for us! Gosh, I sometimes wish I didn’t get so excited about things. I know what you mean about craving calm seas. What comes up must come down, and all that karma-jive… Hugs to you, too, my friend…

  12. Martha Bergin says:

    Glad you’re home safely Kathy. You ask, “Did this ever happen to you?” You’re kidding, of course! Checking 106 things off my catch-up To Do list? I’m still workin’ on 1979! : )

    • Kathy says:

      (Martha, wanna know a little secret? It wasn’t 106 things. I kinda exaggerated. It was probably 24 things! shhh, don’t tell anyone, will you?)

  13. I have been in your shoes so many times, all I can say do is send you big hugs and remind you that this will pass. I know it will.

    • Kathy says:

      It seemed to pass already, Kathy, but has re-asserted itself this afternoon. I love looking forward to trips, to new adventures. It is always somewhat harder to learn to love and embrace what’s right in front of us. But I shall try! And I know you do, too.

  14. Val says:

    I’m not a traveller and it’s happened to me. Always did, probably always will. Away from home for more than a few days and then… plummet. I understand. Hugs.

    • Kathy says:

      I am glad you understand, Val. It seems that many of us feel that way. Maybe we won’t be so hard on ourselves if we know it’s just a cycle…Hugs back, and thank you.

  15. Sybil says:

    Oh dear Kathy. I am away. I am in Ottawa visiting my brother, his wife and other family. Enjoying exploring the ice-covered canal. Marvelling at ice sculptures and eating sweet, maple taffy that has been drizzled across the snow and rolled onto a stick. Tomorrow I fly home to Nova Scotia. I’ll remember this post, if on Thursday or Friday, I start feeling a bit glum.

    Consider yourself HUGGED !

    • Kathy says:

      May I please have just one lick of that sweet maple taffy drizzled across snow? oh how lovely, Sybil! I hope you are not feeling glum on Thursday or Friday. If you are, we’ll have to Skype! (I Skyped with fellow-blogger Reggie today. What a hoot!)

  16. bearyweather says:

    It is hard to get back to reality after living a dream. Traveling can get us to come alive and really live .. there are unknowns, fears, excitement … everything is new. After you recover from the sadness, I hope you find ways to add newness to your everyday life … it is hard to do with all of our obligations, but if anyone can find a way to do it … it will be you. Glad to hear that your trip was so great.

    • Kathy says:

      Bearyweather, I am glad you understand. It’s hard to settle back home. Strangely enough, I thought about you SO strongly just before you wrote this comment! I am glad to hear from you. Will visit soon. It’s been hard to post comment on other blogs because I’ve been considered an Evil Spammer lately. Hopefully WordPress has cleared that up.

  17. Pingback: And then the banana said… « Lake Superior Spirit

  18. Reggie says:

    How beautifully and eloquently you share your post-travel sadness with us, dear Kathy. I am told that, when you fly somewhere, it takes a while for the spirit to catch up with the body.

    When this passes – which it will – the sadness will melt away and you will look back with much joy, tinged with just a hint of melancholy and longing, at your wonderful experiences in Nicaragua, and your familiar, happy, cheerful self will be back.


    • Kathy says:

      Reggie, my dear friend, it was an amazing pleasure skyping with you today!! You have helped to alleviate my travel sadness. Thank you, dear friend. (P.S. I adored seeing you in person! I am still thinking about it!)

  19. Carol says:

    Yes,yes,yes! The thrill of anticipation of the trip, the thrill of leaving, the thrill of being there, exploring, relaxing, enjoying – the letdown of returning to regular life, no matter how great it is.

    • Kathy says:

      I am glad you understand, Carol. When the thrill is replaced by the ordinary…sometimes it feels challenging to find the thrill in the ordinary for a while.

  20. jeffstroud says:

    I think this is quiet beautiful ! It is real, it is honest!

    I love the reflection photographs!

    • Kathy says:

      Jeff, I am glad you like the photos. I thought the books looked like they glowed gold in the early morning sun. Glad you like the honesty of the pain of this sadness.

  21. Heather says:

    Travel is really a double-edged sword, especially when family is involved. I’ll be joining you in passing melancholy when I return home from a spur-of-the-moment southern Ohio trip.

  22. Barb says:

    Kathy – I’m with you. Let’s escape this measly winter we’re having, even if we just tell knock, knock jokes! Come on girl – we can’t sip umbrella drinks all our lives. (Or can we?)

    • Kathy says:

      Oh, goodness, who would be so lame as to tell knock knock jokes? LOL! Can’t we sip umbrella drinks from now until… **grin** You wouldn’t believe how slippery our driveway is. You can’t even walk between here and the car. What a crazy winter!

  23. lynnekovan says:

    I’m just back from a journey. No blues yet, but I really do recognise what yopu are saying. Home is good too though!

    • Kathy says:

      Maybe you won’t get the blues this time? I don’t always get them. But this time–yep, it’s been a let-down, even though I do love home.

  24. Karma says:

    Although I’ve not travelled on a distant journey in many years, I know the sadness you mean. I feel it just from my small jaunt to Maine each summer. And I know that feeling will be waiting for me upon my return from my much-looked-forward-to adventure in April.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh Karma, I hope you don’t get this feeling when you return home! I am wonder if it’s inevitable when we’ve been so excited for so long? Yet, would we trade one moment of the excitement? I don’t think so. It’s just part of the ebb and flow of our lives when we travel… P.S. I am SO happy for your exciting cruise!

  25. Christina says:

    Kathy, I totally know what you’re going through. I’d say that about 50% of the time I go on vacation I’ll come back with the post-vacation blues. But soon those days will pass and you’ll be back into your at-home-groove!
    p.s. Your photos from Nicaragua are awesome!

    • Kathy says:

      Christina, I was soooo happy to see your comment yesterday! What a thrill to hear from you. Glad you liked the Nicaragua photos. You have been to so many places…I think we both have caught a travel bug. 🙂

  26. Colleen says:

    Oh Kathy, me too. I often (usually) feel this way after travelling. I used to blame it on jet lag but it’s not, well maybe a small part, at times. Your description is so poignant and familiar to me. I think we return home from these experiences changed…. in ways that take time to integrate into our oh-so- familiar (and dear) every day lives. It takes a while for it to all fit back together 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      I was sad much of last weekend, Colleen. And then Monday felt revived, and then yesterday kind of yo-yo’d back and forth. (Is yo-yo’d a word?) Today everything is starting to feel much more settled. Honoring that time is needed to settle back in. Thank you.

  27. Dana says:

    I find that I am a better traveler by bus, car, or train (or foot!) than I am by plane. I am not afraid of flying, but my spirit and circadian rhythms get ruffled by the process of getting someplace so far away so quickly… too quickly. Maybe part of your sadness is just your body trying to reset its natural rhythms and paces? (Not to diminish the emotions of it– at all.)

    It’s almost like eating food– when we are accustomed to sugar, salt, and fat, eating something pure and whole feels like a let down. Underwhelming. In the same way, you’ve just returned from a highly stimulating vacation, seeing old friends in new surroundings and witnessing a wedding, to boot! Plain ol’ Michigan can’t compete with that… yet. Soon– possibly sooner than you might think– your body and spirit will realign and you’ll begin cherishing the ordinary once again. In the meantime, honor this “down” time and be gentle to yourself. ((hugs)) 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      You are probably right, Dana, about the body needing time to reset its natural rhythms. Part of the challenge is that it’s so ICY outside and on our driveway that you can’t walk anywhere. It’s like we’re living in a Skating Rink World. (That sounds like a blog title, doesn’t it?)

      As for eating sugar, salt and fat–yes–yes–and, in truth, we did a lot of eating like that during our vacation! So maybe my body is in shock when it’s being fed beans and brown rice and protesting mightily! LOL! Thank you, thank you….and by now you know that I was giggling by Monday morning, although got a little sad again off and on Tuesday. Today feels like things are finally adjusting.

  28. ....RaeDi says:

    I think it is a part of life… you come you go and you want what you had and you think did you have it… you did and it ended too quickly and then you face reality and with time it gently connects all and life seems normal… it opens your spirit to all that is, life is one continuing journey!

    • Kathy says:

      RaeDi, I love your words this morning. Now you are a person who has something to really be sad about today–and yet your spirit can open to this wider perspective. One continuing journey, indeed. Thank you for pausing here with your hummingbird heart.

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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