This is the notification I got today while browsing around on my WordPress app.
I haven’t kept up the frequency of posts that I started off with, but I’ve nevertheless managed to maintain this blog for five full years.
That’s got to be worth something. I know I’ve enjoyed it, even though I’ve sometimes neglected it.
Sweet September’s last farewell,
Perfection captured in a day.
Geese fly, determined, southward,
Their migration deep ingrained.
I walk along the riverside,
‘neath towering trees aflame.
Alone, at peace, I find my thoughts,
And in so doing, find my way.
I just got back from a trip to the farmer’s market. It’s something I think of as “me time.” I walk the mile or so through town to get there, and I go before my husband gets home, so it’s a solitary thing.
I enjoy talking with the vendors, but I also enjoy wandering solo, past and through the booths, taking my time, deliberating on whether to buy kale from Shelly or Kate, investigating who has the best price for carrots.
For a while, I did not enjoy going by myself. I was not confident enough to walk through the crowd, interact with the farmers, and make purchases without Chris’s reassuring presence by my side. I often like to let him do the talking.
I’m pushing myself lately, however. I’m trying to gently expand my comfort zone, and try things that once would have been too scary.
That includes food, by the way. It’s funny how I reward myself for going to the market alone, by buying things I like — but these are things that, several years ago, I would have considered not a reward, but rather a punishment.
Once upon a time, I would only have eaten the corn and the potatoes from that spread. I still won’t eat the tomatoes raw, but I’m thinking those orange ones on the right might be nice in some sort of pizza application. (Like this one, only with a vegan mozzarella like this one.)
My, how things change.
I prefaced my market trip by reading a book in the park while I waited for the opening bell. After I shopped, I figured I might as well continue to indulge myself, and partway home I claimed a shady bench, nicely situated along the river that goes through town.
I meant to sit and read for a while longer, but then I noticed the local heron. He was directly in front of the bench I chose, wading through the shallows, doing what herons do.
I replaced my bookmark and leaned back, just watching. I let myself focus entirely on his movements, while still appreciating the breeze on my sunburned shoulders. I relaxed completely, and I thought to myself, “this must be what meditation is.”
I took a moment to consider how peaceful I felt, and how much I was enjoying it. That made me think of a woman I know, not exactly a friend, but an acquaintance who thrives on drama. She proclaims this loudly and proudly, how she loves drama, even craves it. She is an intense person as well as being dramatic. I often find myself physically leaning backward away from her when she is speaking. We could not be more different, she and I.
What I want is more peace in my life, because I feel it has been dramatic enough so far. In contrast, we have this other woman, shattering the quietness of a room with her exuberant voice and exaggerated motions.
I don’t mind intensity, and I don’t want to rid my life of it entirely. I do think there is a difference between that which is intense, and that which is dramatic. An experience can be intense in a quiet, unobtrusive way. It may be a distinction that I alone make, but that’s okay. I just know that I’m okay with the one, and not so desirous of the other.
Though it’s fine in moderation, I find that I generally want to dial down the intensity in my daily life. I crave peace the way some people crave drama, adrenaline-fueled adventures, and high jinks. That’s why I try to cultivate it. That’s why I sit in the shade and watch herons.
I seek out any sort of break I can find from the clamor and cacophony of human voices, car engines, sirens, and punctuations of unaccountable noises. Natural settings lend themselves to that type of relief. Today, I wasn’t far from the main road, but I was sheltered from it, and able to enjoy myself in tranquility.
My mind gradually quieted, emptying itself of chaotic tangles of thoughts. It made room. Words came trickling into this room. I began to think of things I wanted to write. If you ask me, that’s a very good reason to seek out these peaceful moments.
I finally stood up and gathered up my bags of vegetables, feeling centered, feeling grounded. I tried to hold onto that serenity as I entered back into the thick of things, but it did slip away somewhat by the time I arrived home.
I know it’s there, however. I can still recall the taste of it, as of a favorite food. I know where to find it.