Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Like Good Friends

     Like a faithful friend, here is my journal waiting for me to pick up our relationship right where we left off six months ago. It feels comfy and familiar and I've missed it.

     The Blue Ridge Mountains are looking very blue this evening. It's easy to see why they were named as such. You can see that the fields in the foreground have just been cut and the sound of tractors with their swoosh-swoosh-swoosh of cutters is now heard from neighboring fields. It's a soothing, summer sound. The smell of cut and drying hay mixed with the heady, sweet scent of honeysuckle fills the air. It is a mood altering aroma for certain. 
     I am home alone this afternoon and evening and it's given me a carefree opportunity to wander around the field and garden, catching up on what I've missed of late. Today was the last day of school and the two weeks leading up to this have been intense. My particular job is nothing stressful compared to what the teachers and full time staff endure nevertheless, the stress is palpable. The last day of school is one big release from all of that building up of stress. We have reached the finish line. Remember being a child on those last days of school and what that felt like?
     Today was a big milestone in what feels like a year of milestones. I tendered my resignation last month and today was my last day of work. It is a bittersweet feeling because I worked in a very nice school with superb staff and a perfect work schedule. I regret leaving that behind. However, I also turned the big 6-0 this spring and it caused me to think about how I've been spending my time and made me realize I want to spend more time with my busy family. They are scattering all over the place and no one is getting any younger so the time has come for me to chase after them. I also feel a strong desire to be more creative and these are the things I look forward to doing without being on a tight schedule.

Along my walk, I pause at the swing and see that Mr. Squirrel has been dining on the seat. I can't help but wonder if he had a hard time keeping his balance as he ate. Did the swing move while he dined? He certainly had a table with a view.
     I'm taking in all these pleasant sights and smells and listening to the distant tractors. It is not lost on me what a balm these sights and aromas are. They are the same environment of sixteen years yet they are completely new every season and every year. It is far from me to ever take them for granted. I'm reminded of a book I listened to called "The Three Day Effect" by Florence Williams. She also wrote a book called, "The Nature Fix, Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative". We don't need a book to tell us what we already know from experience but, it was interesting to listen to the data and hear examples of people's lives touched by spending time in nature.
     I haven't had an unbroken three days to spend in nature however, I do like to be outside as often as I can. We've done one three mile hike this spring, we've run up and down the fields with kites, spent many hours grooming the garden, and Tess and I ventured into the woods a few times to forage Virginia Creeper vines with which to build a wattled compost bin. Tromps into the woods are my favorite! (I do not like finding ticks in my belly button while lying in bed at night nor seeing snakes everywhere! But, that comes with the territory.)

     As I walk up and down our gentle slopes, I am aware of the lack of intense hip pain that had been my companion for the last five years. After a year of doctor visits, x-rays and MRI's, suggested surgery and two rounds of physical therapy, I feel armed with coping mechanisms to reduce the pain and avoid surgery for the time being. The torn cartilage can't be healed but the pain it causes can be managed. Another milestone reached. I've joined the gym, attended my first yoga class and lost three pounds thus far. There are still days of pain but, they are less frequent and I am encouraged by my regained abilities.
     Finally there is time and place for contemplation. I feel like I can really think when I'm outside. For some reason, I seem to need a lot of that. Whether I'm mowing the lawn, pulling weeds or walking up the road, it's the right environment to sort things out. It was a winter of discovering things about myself that I did not know, of long ago secrets that I will never, ever understand, an unearthing of truth that caused me to question the very pores on my skin and the furrow on my brow. I am too old for self discovery. I assumed I had already arrived at myself. Haha! But, not so. Like the damage in my hip, this damage will never heal. It is something I must learn to live with, like a sliver under the skin that can't be removed. Acknowledge it, yes. Accept it, probably no. Subconsciously, one just wants to keep digging at it to make it go away. I'm not sure there's enough walking in the woods or staring at clouds that can sort this one out but, I'll try. I certainly have the time now, don't I?


  1. Time is a great healer...or so I hope. Although a different focus, I too am in a moment of rediscovery.
    Always enjoy reading your blog, and always so much I would like to comment on...or perhaps discuss really.
    Enjoy those walks and moment of quiet thoughts.

  2. Congratulations on your retirement. I hope you enjoy every day of it. I know I do!

  3. Welcome back to blogging! There are fewer of us all the time.

  4. Yes, congratulations as well on your retirement and best wishes for the future, Lee. Also, I was glad to see this new post and look forward to reading about your new and upcoming adventures, welcome back.