After a busy and difficult week, filled with a pervasive sadness as I marked the second anniversary of my sister's death, I was rewarded with a weekend of pleasure. Saturday morning I rose early to mow my lawn and grocery shop -- getting these mundane chores out of the way as quickly as possible. In the early afternoon my cousin and I went to Pine Hollow Arboretum, a beautiful haven in the midst of the little hamlet of Slingerlands.
The Arboretum is a 25 acre parcel of land which has been lovingly tended by Dr. John Abbuhl and his wife for years. We were graciously welcomed at the Visitors' Center by Kay Abbuhl, and, map in hand, began our stroll through this most lovely acreage. As we walked the trails through wooded areas dotted with ponds, I felt a lightening of spirit. The residence is surrounded with lovely plantings, and graced with a hillside waterfall gently flowing midst greenery and flowers. Water lilies in several colors float on the surface of the ponds, and black raspberry bushes hide along the paths. Benches here and there beckon you to linger. We startled a deer as we walked and he darted away across a small field to hide in a stand of pines. We strolled and talked, and were soothed by the beauty of the natural world surrounding us. We came back to my house and sat on the porch for a bit, relaxed and content from our afternoon wanderings.
Last evening my brother-in-law came for dinner. We enjoyed a dinner of grilled steaks, baked potatoes, and sauteed vegetables, and sipped wine on the porch as the evening waned. Bill is an interesting person, and our evening was low-key and relaxing. He brought over some old photographs he had found in the house, and as I looked through them last evening, I was excited to find several photos I did not remember seeing before -- of ancestors I had come to know through my genealogical research. Now these photos will become part of the family history I am working on.
This morning I slept in a bit and let the day slowly begin, reading my newspaper with coffee at hand, and then watering my plants before the hot summer sun rose higher in the sky. I prepared a potato salad and roasted a chicken for an early dinner with my father-in-law. Once again, after dinner, we sat on the shady porch, talking away the afternoon as the heat and humidity of July began to deepen.
The week ahead will be busy and most likely carry its share of stresses into my life, but I am so thankful for the gift of this peaceful weekend. What more could one ask than two days filled with the pleasures of nature, good wine, good food, and the company of beloved family.