“Sit in reverie and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind.”
(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
As I mentioned in the People Are Not Mushrooms blog, we human folk rely on patterns to stay alive. As I also mentioned in that blog, sometimes those patterns need to be shaken up. I chose to do that in the mountains last weekend. It’s amazing how a simple change of scenery can remind us of who we are and why we are.
Upside Down, Inside Out
Have you ever thought about how much the roots of trees look like their tops? The roots burrow down into the soil and absorb nutrients. Those roots keep soil in place and provide a biome for critically important bugs. The tops reach up into the sky, take in nutrients from air and sunlight and then gift the air with oxygen, and gift everything underneath with shade.
The idea of “As above, so below,” exists in many different cultures, religious traditions and philosophies. Aren’t trees an amazing example of that? Spending time with trees in this different way had me thinking more intentionally about the ways I take in “nutrition,” and the ways I offer care to others.
When I first got to the cabin I was a little uncomfortable with the fact that there were no blinds on most of the windows. It seemed so strange to me, until I caught on…
I was on a mountain with a pitch of somewhere around 45 degrees. The only visible neighbors were on the other side of dense trees and the equivalent of about four stories up. When I opened the door or looked out the window, I was eye level with the bottom of trees. No one could possibly look through the windows aside from the deer, squirrels, birds and other critters. I’m guessing they think people look weird in any state, so really, who cares?
The things that are “normal” in my usual life – like blinds on windows, population density, the unique smells of a place – were all different here. Those differences are an opportunity to be a lot more intentional about my choices. Thanks, West Virginia!
No Time Like Now
It started immediately. I had all kinds of plans for how I was going to spend my time away. I was going to write a bunch of blogs so that I wouldn’t have gap weeks or even gap days. I was going to record a bunch of songs I was working on. Being surrounded by tree roots convinced me that I needed to put more emphasis on intake than output.
I spent a whole lot of time just listening to different kinds of birds. Two of my favorites, (Bluebirds and a Red Shouldered Hawk,) showed up in dramatic fashion pretty much every day. I listened to cicadas swell and fall, and remembered a million or so summer days in my life. I did a lot of writing, but not blogs. My fingers ache and sting from all of the guitar I played, but I didn’t record anything for public consumption.
I’m good with that. I don’t think any of you are worse for wear when I don’t spit a blog and a newsletter out every Wednesday. Whatever music I finally share will make a much more positive impact if I work on it a whole lot more before anyone else hears it. If I don’t spend time nurturing my own roots, this “tree” isn’t going to have a whole lot to offer to you all.
More than anything else, I think it’s important to change our scenery, take a vacation, or do whatever we need to do to turn our assumptions upside down. Some of those choices will be exactly the same when we get home, (you’re welcome, neighbors… I’m keeping the blinds…) but they will be much better informed, more solidly rooted, and more effective. Some assumptions might be abandoned altogether because they no longer serve us.
Sand and Pearls
It’s pretty common for people to be irritated when they get back home from vacation. It happens for a lot of different reasons. If we take the awareness that vacation gave us home with us, some of that irritation will be trying its hardest to remind us not to go back to old patterns.
You might be irritated because you weren’t ready to come back. You might be irritated because your sleep schedule or your normal eating patterns have been upended. You might be irritated because schedule changes leave you feeling off balance. But you might be irritated because you really did not miss the way you were thinking, or the choices that you or others usually make. You vacated them and you really don’t want them back.
Instead of trying to be less irritable, you might do better to consider how you can keep those things “vacated” even though you are now home. Let that grain of sand irritate your membranes enough to turn it into a pearl.
By the way… If you like what you see in the pictures on the blog, you can book Moonridge Cabin for yourself on VRBO. Hosts Anne and Paul Eggers are simply wonderful. It’s Property ID 4301385ha. I thought it was an excellent place to “vacate.”
If you’re finding your thoughts and habits hard to vacate, or even struggling to see what you want to vacate, contact Tiffany today. Let’s figure it out together.