There are many different ideas about how to travel. Although somebody who’s very active might not care what kind of hotel they’re in because they’re not there much except to sleep, my husband and I love a room with a view. Our idea of a good three or four hours on vacation is to just sit in front of the window and gaze.
This photo is our view from our room in Bar Harbor, Maine. It is stunningly beautiful. We find we really can’t take in a view by just looking as we pass the window or standing for a few minutes, perhaps with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and then going on to the next activity. The more we look, of course, the more we see. At first glance it’s water and some land and some trees that we are looking over since we’re on the third floor. We can see that one tree has leaves of muted orange but we look some more and we see some other leaves changing of a different color. We hadn’t noticed that right away because it was subtle. We start studying the clouds and the color of the sky as it peaks through and the small movement in the sky and in the sea and even on land. And we take in that quiet tranquil look of a quiet harbor before activity begins.
Some of our favorite vacations included a great deal of gazing time. We stared at Milford Sound in New Zealand from 2 PM until 11 PM and we stared at the Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland from 3 o’clock in the afternoon to 10 PM and then stared further the next day over morning coffee. That kind of staring leads to noticing that the clouds are going to the right or the left or they are revealing different colors we had never noticed in clouds. We talked about everything we knew about the Matterhorn and its history and what made it such a beautiful mountain.
Staring and gazing leads to pondering. Of course sometimes somebody just stares and gazes. But we often have conversations that either lead to new thinking or new things to ponder about. I wonder, as I look out this window, where the bigger sailboat goes and what it’s like to be a sailor. Is it more of the same thing over and over again? And is that wonderful? Or is it the boring part? Is there a comraderie on a small boat that you might not get going out to dinner with your friends? How skilled are the sailors or how skilled do they need to be? Do they keep finding new places or is the joy simply toodling around one’s favorite islands and then to a favorite harbor?
Our ponderings might go to people that we’ve met. Or perhaps philosophizing about people who love the sea in the way I love the mountains. Gazing at beauty expands the mind and restores and enriches the soul.