Holiday (noun) versus vacation (noun)

We don't think much about the words we use to describe time away from our regular routines. Our holidays are rarely "holy days" to mark changes in agricultural or liturgical seasons -- even the ones that are holdovers from more observant times such as Christmas and Easter. (A few urban pagans still attempt to mark soltices and harvest and planting moons, but it all seems a little silly for people whose closest ties with the earth are forged at the produce counter.)

I'm guessing vacation from the daily world of work is closer to what most of us experience. To be honest, I shamelessly "vacated" at the start my annual leave this year. I abandoned work on a Friday evening and made a beeline for PEI with the family first thing the next morning. As I moved short-sleeved shirts, sandals and books into an unfamiliar closet, though, I could feel myself gradually downshifting into a slower rhythm. And it came with the smell of salt, the feel of wet sand and the sound of waves just outside. Perhaps it would be a holiday, after all.