I think the usual lead in for this post would be something like “I’m finally back home”. Or something like that. But although I am glad to be home and glad to be back where I have phone service and internet access…..part of me is already missing the peace and solitude of the river.
The last few days have been a great test for me to see how I would do without the regularity and familiar surroundings I have had for the last month. Before we left, as I wrote in the post Travel Anxiety, I was wondering whether or not I would be able to maintain my routine. I wasn’t sure how I would be able to keep up with my blog with no steady internet access. I didn’t know if I would be able to continue my daily exercise routine without the equipment we have at home. And most of all, I wasn’t sure if I would even care about doing those things. In the past, I have not even taken the air compressor I need for my inhaled medications with me when I’ve gone on trips or vacations. Usually, on vacation, I stay up late, sleep in, eat unhealthy foods on a sporadic schedule, and the only exercise I get it is any activity that I can’t get out of (like a family bike ride or whatever). I was quite worried that my routine and schedule, in a more laid back, relaxed environment, might devolve to the point where I would start to lose some of my momentum.
But, as it turns out, I was just as diligent once I arrived at the River House as I had been here at home. The only thing that I had to forgo slightly was my afternoon weight lifting. But I substituted with crunches and push-ups, and on the days we travelled, I more than made up for it with all the lifting of bags and boxes. Also, one day at the river I helped to dig a ditch. But other than that, my routine stayed just about the same as it had been at home. I still woke up around 8am, did my nebulizers, ate some breakfast, did my Tai Chi, and then meditated. I still had my afternoons pretty much free, although I tried to do something active to replace the exercise component.
The only thing that got pushed around a bit was my blog posting. If you’ve been reading along the past few days, you’ll have seen several posts which showed up the morning after I wrote them, and a couple that were posted in the early evening the night I wrote them. That was because I had to walk a few hundred yards down the street to the closest neighbor’s house who were kind enough to let me sit on their porch and connect to their wireless internet. So when I could, I would walk down there in the early evening and post before it got dark. But when I wasn’t finished before dark, I just walked over after breakfast, before Tai Chi.
What was really amazing is that I was able to stick with that routine despite the fact that most of my family who were there with me had a very different schedule than I did. It is always easier to stay on schedule if someone else is doing it too.
I also got to fill the free time in my afternoons and evenings with some really fun stuff. I got to play games and put together jigsaw puzzles with my aunt, uncle and cousins. I got to meditate by the river. I got to sit with my family out by the fire pit and sing songs while my cousin Evan played the guitar. I got to read, a lot. And I also got to do something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time: work on a story I have been writing since my sophomore year of college.
I felt, in a strange way, more connected with things while there, even though I was mostly without phone service, cable, or internet. It was amazing the way the sound of the river and the natural surroundings created a peace inside me that made it difficult for me to get worked up about anything.
If you read some of my last few posts you will remember that I had been having quite a bit of anxiety about the trip before hand. But once I got there, it seemed to melt away.
And that, my friends, is why I am not completely ready to be home. There were several times where I became so absorbed with the peaceful energy of the place that I actually felt as if I were transcending physical time and space.
I talked to my uncle on the ride back, and we talked about this idea that when you travel, a part of your being can have the tendency to hang behind at the place you’ve left. Think about going on vacation: sometimes it might take you a day or two to really get into what my dad calls “vacation mode” and actually begin to relax. Why is that? Jet Lag? No, that makes you sleepy. I think it is because a part of your energy remains at the place you’ve just left and it takes a little while to catch up and be re-integrated with your whole.
It took me half a day, upon arriving at the River House, to fully reconcile the fact that I was there, and not here. And now, having arrived home, a part of me is still back up in Washington, dawdling at the River, taking its time to return.
The nature of life, in my opinion, is to constantly offer new contradictions and pose new questions. I am thrilled to be able to experience so many new things and to be able to appreciate them more fully than I ever have before.
The new question/contradiction right now is simple: how can I be glad to be home and wish I were still somewhere else at the same time? Also, if part of my energy remains in a place I have been, does it leave a mark there that others can recognize if they know how? And if part of me wishes I were someplace else, does that split me so that only a piece of my self is present here and now?
Ok, so more than one question.
But you get the picture.
Speaking of pictures, here’s one of me, meditating at a place my aunt Kate calls “meditation rock”:
Hope you all have a good night. I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed, and at the same time missing the cool breeze coming in my window at the River House.
Thanks for reading,
(If you have read my other WordPress Blog where I post some of the poetry I write, you will recognize this post’s title: it is a take off on the title of my poetry blog – What We Left Behind in Crowded Rooms)