Lucky me. I’ve got a mini-BreakAway in progress, having ditched the relentless routine to sneak in some more summer at lovely Lake Okoboji in Iowa. (Yes, Iowa.) Remember Iowa? The state that first endorsed Barrack Obama and brought you Field of Dreams?
Moonlight Graham: “This is the most special place in all the world, Ray. Once a place touches you like this, the wind never blows so cold again. You feel for it, like it was your child.”
Shoeless Joe Jackson: “Is this heaven?
Ray Kinsella: “No, it’s Iowa.”
Ahh. In that dreamy script. Iowa is not just a state, but a state of mind. Guess what: So are Sabbaticals! They’re not just free time, but a place where “the wind never blows so cold.” Especially for those of us fixing to excape Minnesota in the winter.
So I sit on a deck overlooking a calm lake with a waning moon fading into it, the reasons for a Sabbatical seem clear as the brilliant sky. It’s the relaxation, stupid. A chance to dissipate some mental clouds, if only for a while, if only now and then.
A guy can achieve looser muscles and calmer mindwaves by escaping the daily grind, like I’ve just done by visiting this old, favorite vacation spot. Seems simple enough.
Here at glorious and blue Lake Okoboji, yesterday featured a sweet bike ride on new trails along lakes and through woods. Many a grassy knoll called my name and made me stop and chill a while.
A funky coffee shop (a shrine to Hendrix) provided live entertainment from a family of blonde ladies who served me quiche and salad. (Real men don’t eat salad, right?) Who gets even a slice of all that serendipity on a demanding day at the desk?
Meanwhile, a friend from Mankato escaped his day job and joined me by 2 yesterday. We were cruising on the pontoon by 3. We were out of beer by 5. We did a quick happy hour at the family shanty (named Itldo) before heading to a waterside restaurant for sundown with a steel-drum soundtrack and mahi mahi.
Hmmm, now where have I routinely devoured that before? Ah yes, the Virgin Islands.
An omen? Mahi mahi is by far the most common (and affordable) local fish around much of the Caribbean. (Some call it dolphin fish, which offends some diners so they won’t eat it, even though it has nothing to do with mammal dolphins.) I eat it often on St. John at Skinny Leg’s (one of Esquire’s Best Bars in America—and it even features “same day service!”). Their mahi burger is best with lots of the local hot pineapple sauce.
But back to the here and now: Today will feature golf, more boating, bar hopping, and another fine meal out. Not even sabbaticals promise days this easy and lovely. But they might, right? We’ll only know if we try. Absent my skeds and kids and egos and ids and doubts and pouts, I feel more like trying. Today, anyway.