We’re just back from a four-day escape to Wisconsin’s Door County peninsula, our vacation home away from home. We walked our favorite walks and viewed our favorite views. The comfort of familiarity contrasts with the stimulation of last year’s visit to Greece, where everything was new to us.
Human senses tune into change, novelty, the unexpected. In Greece, grand edifices like the Temple of Poseidon grabbed my attention. Perception operates at a different level in a setting one knows well. In northern Door County, where every turn of the road is familiar, it’s the doe and fawn by the roadside who catch my eye. The particular blend of red, green, and yellow in this patch of woods, this particular week. The cormorant preening its feathers on a ledge fifteen feet from the observer. Sunbeams shooting straight up into the clouds from a purple sunset over the bay. The joy of novelty in a home away from home lies in the ever-changing details.
I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.