another view {life}

How many pictures can I take of the same of the same view? More than this, I promise. I took you to our beach last week, and it's past time I get us back around the world and share some shots from our trip to Greece and Italy back in June.

The resort where we stayed was near Olympia, right on the Ionian Sea. I have some pictures of the resort, and some funny stories about it too, that I'll share with you soon, but first I want to show you this glorious water.

We had some waves the first day, but they were little, even by the standards of what we refer to our Atlantic Ocean: Lake Virginia Beach. After that, placid skies and placid seas. Bracing water. I'm not sure if it was the time of year or the weather pattern that met us there, but the skies were soft, almost hazy, every day, even with low humidity. We could just make out mountains rising from the water, far in the distance, and occasionally a cruise ship would hulk slowly off shore.

The water changed color daily and was always crystal clear. Shallow and buoyant beyond belief, we marveled at how easily we floated and how far down we saw our wiggling toes.

Cal forcefully took on the water every chance he could. He kayaked every day. He swam, he dove. I met him in the water, moving more slowly, but so grateful for each buoyant float. I'm a floater more than a diver, I suppose.

Every day I walked the curve of land that hugged our hotel. Turn left, you hit the resort. Rows of white umbrellas waiting for families to take cover. Turn right and almost immediately you're in rural, coastal Greece. Fishing families with ragged homes perched along the shore. Tarp covered patios, barking dogs. These are no coastal hideaways. Fancy and designed for vacationers. These are the homes of working men and women. Scrappy and held together with twine and wire.

I always turned right when I went to walk.

The day after we learned that Violet died, I took this walk, my feet sinking into cool sand, the calm sea a gentle slap against the shore. It was glassy, smooth and serene, balm to my breaking heart. I walked all the way to that tiny cove, where boats bobbed and one lone swimmer broke the surface with a steady stroke. If I ever needed a message that the sea and the sand starts to heal me, this walk was it. I was still heartbroken, my emotions were still raw, but with this water alongside me, I was walking on.

back safe, home again [june 23]

Row 1:  Parthenon | Greek flag flying | Ionian Sea;  Row 2:  Our hotel | Dinner at the port of Katakolon, Greece | Cal swimming;  Row 3:  Olympia | Cal;  Row 4:  Colosseum | Sorrento | Amalfi Coast;  Row 5:  Positano | Sweet Violet

Row 1: Parthenon | Greek flag flying | Ionian Sea; Row 2: Our hotel | Dinner at the port of Katakolon, Greece | Cal swimming; Row 3: Olympia | Cal; Row 4: Colosseum | Sorrento | Amalfi Coast; Row 5: Positano | Sweet Violet

Well, we made it home. Got in last week and have been in recovery mode ever since. The trip was fabulous, sublime and surreal on so many levels. It was also distracting, exhausting and sad.

As so many of you know by now, we lost our sweet Violet while we were gone, and I can't pretend that her death didn't impact much of the trip for me once we heard the news. Coming home to her absence has been, if anything, bewildering, like getting bad news twice. Cal and I have been recuperating and trying to heal our hearts on a steady diet of The West Wing and Smartpop popcorn (mixing the white cheddar with the kettle corn has turned out to be our best decision all week). He's worried about me, but I'm fine. Just sad, and I'd like the opportunity to simply be so.

So yes, we're home. The trip feels like a beautiful blur, and though I took many photos and will start to dismantle my memory card and share them here soon, I feel like I lost my photography mojo somewhere along the way. It felt like there was little connection to the pictures I've been taking, and now that we're back, I haven't felt inclined to pick up my camera much at all. Hoping that changes soon.

When I come home from a trip, I usually feel energized in my space and anxious to tackle my world with the new-found knowledge our travels have given me. Rejuvenated and ready to start new rituals. This time, for a lot of reasons, I feel exhausted and achy, and, as I said, bewildered. The other dogs are restless and agitated, but seem okay. Still, it's very quiet in the house without her.

And to all of you who reached out to us through messages on Facebook and Instagram, through notes and texts, how can I ever thank you enough? How can I ever tell you what your kind and thoughtful words meant to me. We read them all, each and everyone, reaching across so many miles. Thank you, thank you, and thank you again. I've missed you all, and I'm anxious to "see" you again and to "hear" your voices around me. What's been happening lately? X