I was away from internet and computer for a few days, and still managed to keep up with writing, the old fashioned way. In a journal.
I wrote out intentions, thoughts, review of my year, hopes for the next. Frustrations, desires, recipes, lists.
The rest of the time I read books, poetry, hiked, sat, watched birds, meditated.
Maggie contacted me on Friday, hoping I would meet her at the home of our old friends. A mom and daughter silent retreat.
Not perfectly silent. We each stayed in separate houses. We met once a day, midday, shared food, visited for half an hour, then went our separate ways.
I hiked down the river, found a giant cave shelter, walls covered in pictographs. I sat and chanted and meditated, and the quiet time went so quickly! It was quite different than meditating on a cushion in my bedroom. I breathed, I listened. I felt the breeze and sunshine upon my skin, the rocks under my seat.
I imagined and laughed at myself and felt guilty for being away from my family for two nights.
The stars were bright at moments. A soft rain fell at others. Chilly nights turned into short sleeve days. I drank coffee, ate simple food brought from home.
Temptation to work keep tugging at my sleeve. My intention to rest gently, kindly reminded my work ethic to take a back seat. My new years eve was not spent in fancy clothes, with sparkling friends. Well. I had sparkling friends! The canyon walls showed off their multi-colored splendor as they watched the sun go down. Canyon wrens called and laughed and I sipped my champagne and breathed, enjoying the feel of a soft fuzzy sweater all cozy over tshirt and worn out jeans, a pair of slippers warming my tired feet.
Instead of thinking grand thoughts, I enjoyed sitting, watching, just being.
At times I felt my shoulders tense and my face harden into worry. I remembered to breathe, to offer my muscles the gift of a moment of rest.
Two places on the property offered momentary, infrequent opportunities to check text messages, but not email. I tried to slip back into fix-it mode a time or two, thinking that if I were a good mother, daughter, sister, friend, I would navigate and orchestrate a few circumstances. An impossibility out there, on the edge of a canyon wall, in the middle of nowhere. At some point I surrendered, and sure enough, the world survived.
I loved the gift of the tiny butterflies, floating along the rough ground cover that passes for grass. The scent of the desert flowers was better than any perfume I know. A gray fox down below, wandering along deer paths, heard me sneeze. He laughed. Or was it she? And tried to find me. And couldn't as I was far up above. I loved how his lush tail whisked back and forth and plumed behind like a flag. What marvelous coloring, a gray that blended in perfectly well with his surroundings. Deer pounced back and forth in the wild yard, skittering and scattering when I stepped outside to watch the stars. Dozens of vultures roosted in river bottom trees and along the top of the bluffs across the river. At one point, I walked back to the main house to launder my sheets and noticed I was walking in the shadow of dancing vultures. It felt magical. Those wonderful creatures help with a lot of dirty jobs yet seem to have a bad reputation. To be so unattractive, they are gifted with grace and coordination. Their weaving shadows surrounded me on my patch. It was interesting.
I wanted to come home and be with my other kids. Maggie and I were on our own and yet the side by side solitude was very comforting. I laughed when I saw the giant stack of books she carried along for her mini retreat. I wonder who she takes after??? I hated to leave her. And the quiet. And the refuge of wild, desert nature.
Home is good. I love my bed. My kitchen, bathroom, other children, and parents, animals, friends, computer. The Christmas tree is still up and it feels comforting to sit in my library with candles and tree lights flickering.
But I will remember my little mini retreat. I hope to take that restful energy with me into the new year. To remember to pause and care for myself when needed. It is my responsibility. When I care for myself, I can care more effectively for others.
Silence and nature restore my soul.
Going back to work today was hard, and took some revving up, but thanks to that getaway, the wherewithal was there.
day whatever, can't remember now, trying to keep up with the discipline.