Two More Months

I ran up to the store a little while ago and in conversation with the girl at the check-out, I mentioned it being August 31st and that meaning we have only two more months of heat.  It may be a little cooler over the next few weeks, but fall is two months away.  Around Hallowe’en we should get a cool front.  Meanwhile, cabin fever continues.

I want to go outside and do something.  It’s one o’clock in the afternoon.  It would not be even remotely pleasant.  Later, this afternoon, I have an outdoor project to work on.  I know that with my age and condition, I need to be careful.  I intend to try anyway.

A former co-worker has just retired.  I went to her retirement luncheon.  She has a retired husband.  They like to travel and already have a trip planned for the coming weeks.  I have been retired a year now.  I haven’t made a dent in any of my retirement plans.  I hear retired people say they are so busy they don’t know how they had time to work before.  I have managed to avoid that issue.

I have a few days each week to spend doing whatever I want here at the house.  And yet, several projects sit waiting.  Am I not really interested in getting them done?  Are they simply “should do” projects?  I was skimming through a book yesterday and came across a phrase:  rapt attention.  The rapt attention could lead to the feeling of childlike joy.  Or something like that.  I am looking for that something that can capture my rapt attention and evoke the feeling of childlike joy.

My mother had a gift for always being busy.  She had a sewing project, quilt project, crochet project or something going. In the fall or winter, she was often outside with a few hand tools clearing back the woods around the house a bit more.  Spring meant a vegetable garden to be put in.  Canning of green beans and shelling and freezing purple hull peas came around in the calendar. My brother was the muscle in the outfit.  Sometimes we would be joined by others just for the time together working on something.  As her physical ability waned, she focused on cooking for whoever showed up to fix this or paint that or watch the Cowboys play football on Sunday afternoons. 

I want to be busy, too.  I wrote last week of digging deep.  Looking for that something on all the lists that might be just the thing. 

Did I confess about my Pinterest boards?  A few weeks ago, I went through all the 4000+ pins I have on various boards.  I created a board of things that still seem to resonate with me.  Home décor, garden ideas, clothes, colors.  A variety of topics.  The other day I listened to a TED talk by someone whose opinion I respect.  He talked about vision boards being effective.  He doesn’t try to explain why.  He indicated he doesn’t know why they seem to work.  So, I made a vision board. I actually printed pictures from Pinterest and got a piece of poster board and put the board on the back side of the bedroom door.  I will let you know how things go. 

None of the things on the board are items for my rapt attention.  I will need to work on that direction some more.  I have some vague ideas, but I need some time and some resources to pursue the possibilities.  Time, I have.  Resources, not so much.  If Hobby Lobby and JoAnn’s weren’t so far away, I would be able to move along more quickly.  I could at least see if anything is available to develop my ideas further. 

I am not really discouraged.  Just stalled.  If I am anything, I am persistent in this venture.  For more than 40 years, I have persisted in seeking a way to express my creativity.  I want to be bolder.  Take more risks.  Be willing to fail on a grander scale.  Out of those grander failures, I might just find something to get my rapt attention and give me childlike joy. 

The pursuit continues for me.  I take a tiny step or two each day.  Some days I even move a good bit along the path.  Today, I moved a good bit along.  My idea isn’t working. And so, a failure toward success.  Simply being able to classify today’s flop as such is success all on its own.  Let me stop here and go try to get through some more failures on the way to success.  Will keep you posted. 

Cabin Fever

It occurred to me recently that here in this part of the world, it is more likely to have cabin fever in the summer time.  The summer’s deadly heat and humidity drives everyone in to the air-conditioned spaces the same way deadly cold and snow drives those in northern climes inside during winter.  If one is fortunate, there is a source for water play outdoors. A lake, creek, water park or in our case a little blow-up pool in the back yard makes it possible to actually enjoy being outside mid-day.  I always get the little pool ready when the duchesses are coming to see me.    

I terribly miss the warm lake waters we swam in growing up.  The place we once spent all summer is now off limits to those without camp houses on the road to it.  The other locations we swam at are overgrown and full of alligators these days.  We got rid of the boat sitting collecting dust.  We used to take it to a sandbar on the river.   The cold current of the river waters don’t compare to laying on a float drifting in a lake cove any way. 

Maybe that is what I need to work on.  Checking to see if the one possible swimming place is still viable on the lake.  I might not want to take the duchesses there just yet.  I have seen too many alligators out in the open lake this summer to allow me any consideration of that.  A couple of adults should be okay. Right? 

I have a friend who will surely be up for the adventure.  I doubt he will have time or inclination to try it. The friend I have in mind shares the same memories of that lake and that place.  She and I have spent many a summer day roasting in the sun and cooling off in the waters of the muddy lake. 

Our lake is shallow and sandy bottomed.  The water is light brown and opaque.  Warm and soothing.  I still remember finding “cold spots” when we would get out chest deep or so.  A current of deeper water would swirl up and there would be a fleeting pocket of cooler water.  We would get excited and try to stay in it while it lasted. 

No doubt my memories are gilded in the haze of distant memory and cloaked in remembrance of innocent youthful ideals.  I might be disappointed if I face the water again now.  That is true.  I may not like it now.  That will certainly not take away the glorious memories that play through my mind from days of old. We were young and full of ourselves. Anxious to escape this sand hill.  I never did really leave except a few years away at the beginning of adulthood. And now with the halfway mark of my life well past, I am unlikely to ever leave again. 

I am accustomed to weathering the summer heat and the winter rain right here on this sand hill.  I can tell if a storm might actually make it to here from which way it is coming.  The high bluff of the river valley has a definite power over the storms.  I know which windows to avoid the summer sun and which ones to seek for the winter sun.  I know where to go to see the diamonds glittering on the ripples of the lake or to see the herons stalking fish. I know how to overcome the summer doldrums and manage the barrage of mosquitos. 

What I don’t know is how I got so blessed?  When I was 16, had I been able to look forward to this very summer 50 years later, and seen myself living here in this very house on this very sand hill, I would have gone mad with distress.  Now I can’t see myself any where else.  Even were our parents still living, we would have been on this hill a half mile away as the crow flies.  Tied to place through love and memory. A shallow lake. Tall pines. White sand roads. Bicycles. Kids being kids.

I am blessed that he loves me enough to put up with being here.  I know it isn’t his ideal.  And certainly, if his perfect situation arose, I would go with him.  My home is here, though.  No matter where my future days take us, this will ever be home.