These last weeks I have kept close to home, venturing to work and back with little else filling my days or nights. Mostly because I have been battling one of those winter colds, (and finally winning) but also because the roads have been icy, and getting back to our cozy world seems smart and safe and more important than anything. On this schedule I have gotten home while it’s still light, so a slow meandering stroll to take in the forest and field is a must do.
As June melts into July, and we settle into yet another new home, there is plenty to fracture and divide our time from our desire. There is unpacking and all those decisions of where to hang this mother’s portrait or that Bowie painting. There are boxes of cleaning supplies that look too much like work, so I vote to banish them to the cellar while she might actually want to use them. There’s me wandering on the front lawn in my bathrobe to catch the early light and getting sidetracked by raindrops on broad leaves instead of finding the lid to the pot still stuck in a box somewhere. Me wandering. Finally, I’d add. Stop the lists of to-do’s for a single moment and feel dewy grass.
As much as I want to start every morning ready to face whatever comes my way, there are those days that knock me down, saw off my legs, and leave me to crawl through the mire; those days I curse change, especially unasked for ch-ch-ch-changes, and feel stuck. Helpless. During those moments I wrestle desperately with myself. You know that feeling? It’s two steps forward and one back, until you are either worn down by the whole affair, or you move yourself into the light.
Lately, life has been in winter lock-down under a permanent cloud cover. And yes, this visual metaphor speaks loudly for all that has transpired this past week. How will we survive? Clueless actually, but still, my way is this: create some healthy routines. Those Sunday to Saturday, day to day rituals, that cause you to exhale and remember your center; whatever those activities are, you need to foster and maintain a few. Hold on to those when you feel tempest-tossed.
Living in the rural and magnificent state of Vermont gives us countless opportunity to walk, swim, and rejoice in clean air and water. Rivers, large and small, and lakes dot the picture perfect landscape, and if you are willing to hike a bit, waterfalls too abound. Recently, we spent a few afternoons when the sun was bright and warm seeking out a variety of swimming holes. Lucky us, right?
Adrift on whim I spiral here and there during the short summer in Vermont. On the luckiest of days I answer to no one, dismiss errands, and banish have-to’s completely. Apparently, according to several research studies, “The mere thought of pleasant alternatives made people concentrate less” (Konnikova). Beyond my morning ritual of brewing a cup of strong black tea, I set my day’s course as casual as possible. Hot afternoons are spent near a local lake, cooler evenings cruising along on the bike path. In my back field, among the hillside of green ferns, purple flowers grab my attention; I waste away an afternoon photographing countless budding lupines. My fascination over this wildflower originated from a children’s book, Miss Rumphius, which I read to my daughter over and over. Lupines produce offspring freely, and these grow to flower and make more lupines than you can count. Fields are quickly over-run with these colorful spikes and while the environmentalist might look at them as an invasion, I see the rainbow of lupines as pure joy!
“Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.