Heading to the coast today for what my mom has started calling the “annual retreat.” It’s an apt descriptor. The whole wineaux friend group goes. This year there will be at least 14 of us.
I’ve got to start hustling to get myself ready and get the car packed up. My goal is to leave in two hours.
As soon as I get there I’ll dump the Bolognese I’ve already prepped into a Crock-Pot. Then I’ll unload my car and put my things in the bedroom I always stay in.
Heading to this house feels like coming home. When I walk into that bedroom, with the creaky floorboards and adorable floral print bedding, it feels like I’m connecting with my roots.
This, even though I’ve only been friends with these folks for a decade.
Still, “annual retreat” feels like the right way of describing the few days at the end of one year and the beginning of the next that we, our crew, enjoy together away from the normalcy of daily life.
We cook too much. We eat too much. Some of us drink a little too much. A few of us get high more than we do otherwise.
There are lazy hours spent staring at the ocean from the comfort of the living room and kitchen.
There are impromptue gatherings where we watch the sun sinking down into the endless expanse of water and notice ourselves speaking in hushed tones as we absorb it’s beauty.
There are long evenings spent by the fireplace, cozied up together, drinking and chatting and generally catching up on all the minutiae we’ve missed from each other’s lives over the previous year.
We all see each other and hang out throughout the year, but somehow the important little things get missed and the larger life events take precedent. Except, of course, during our time at the beach, when our place slows and we have time to settle in together for as long as we please.
At least until we can’t keep our eyes open and one by one we wander off to our beds.
From the bedroom I stay in, I can hear the low mumblings and guffaws of those who stay up past me as I drift off to sleep. Then I’m awoken by the early crowd in the morning, as the scents of bacon and coffee waft up through the floorboards.
I really should get out of my recliner and get myself on the road, instead of sitting here with Abigail on my lap putting these thoughts and feelings into words.
After all, this year’s beach adventure awaits.