I want to unfold.
I don’t want to be folded anywhere,
because where I am folded,
there I am a lie.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book of Hours
Find meaning. Distinguish melancholy from sadness. Go out for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a romantic walk in the park, spring at its most spectacular moment, flowers and smells and outstanding poetical imagery smoothly transferring you into another world. It doesn’t have to be a walk during which you’ll have multiple life epiphanies and discover meanings no other brain ever managed to encounter. Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but ‘steal’ some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be.
~ Albert Camus, Notebooks 1951-1959
Have you ever had the post-vacation/holiday blues? It’s a real thing. Some folks call it post-travel depression. Whatever you want to call it, it’s that sadness you feel after returning home from a trip or vacation, especially if it was pleasurable. The longer you were away, the more intense the blues. Or so the experts in these things say.
I’ve had more than a touch of that this week. It’s not surprising or unexpected. But it does take a little adjusting to after two months of busy-ness with grandchildren and family, and the opportunity to spend time with dear friends. M is back at work during the day and it’s just me and the cats here on the ranch. Famine after the feast, solitude after the crowd of family.
I decided to resume what I think of as my morning meetings. They are not meetings at all, really, but more of a walk into the woods where I commune with nature, talk to the trees, have a good cry if needed, and then just sit and be with whatever comes up or comes around. I listen to the wind, the birds, the splashing of the water. I watch whatever wild beings come to visit. It’s a good way to spend a little of my morning time. Very often, nothing much happens at all.
While I was out for a morning meeting on Friday, it dawned on me that one of the reasons this place is feeling surreal and unfamiliar is because it IS unfamiliar. The guys that did the mowing didn’t do it in the same way that I do. They went above and beyond, weed whacking everything they could, edging along the walkways, and just generally making the place look more manicured than we do. The woodland trail is a mess. As I think I mentioned in my last post, it’s overgrown with grasses and other plants. But there is more to it. We obviously had a great deal of flooding with some wave action move through the woods. Trees that had fallen in the past were moved from their usual positions, some pretty far down the main path. That was surprising. We don’t usually see wave action with flooding.
I took a look back at Hurricane Isaias. I followed the storm track when we were in Ohio, but not with the attention and intensity I would have if I’d been here. I did worry about the way it was tracking up the bay. However, the only news I received about the storm from our house- and pet-sitter was that Bob, the minion, got blown around and he lost his goggles and eyes. Poor Bob. (If you are new here or have forgotten about Bob, you can find out about him in this post.) We’ll fix him up when we have time. Perhaps it will be better to leave him in the garage, where he is currently residing, until hurricane season is over.
It is difficult to find news about any storm damage this far south on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. We get ignored for the most part, partially because we are so isolated. There are reports about areas north where they had big power outages, tornadoes, and downed trees. There were 19 tornadoes across the Hampton Roads, Virginia region which is only an hour or so south of us. My point, if I have one, is that Isaias did quite a bit of damage for a Cat 1 hurricane, and I suspect that’s because of the way he came through, riding up the bay rather than out at sea. Isaias is probably the reason the woods look so different to me now. Things were shifted, in big ways. The creek and marsh are showing signs of a lot of erosion. I couldn’t get to the dock (the grasses were really high), but I can see it’s still there and M tells me that there wasn’t much damage to it. The repairs he did over the last winter must have been good. They held.
The other change is one of comfort and preference, for lack of a better way to put it. It is one that is always on the verge of happening here, more so than in the Bogs. It’s a rewilding. Nature takes over, fast and furious, swallowing up all attempts to tame her. In fact, I’d go so far to say that taming is not really something we can do. At best, it’s temporary. As soon as you turn away for more than a few days, nature comes stretching and twining and growing back in, roots and tendrils reaching ever outward and ever deeper. The speed at which trees grow here always astounds me.
We always had more time in the Bogs. Nature moves at a slower pace. The land is more manicured, tended, more managed and cultivated. There are areas like that here on the Eastern Shore, too, but this, where the ranch is located, is not one of them. It might have been at one time. The previous owners (who were also the original owners) stopped caring and tending and cultivating. Being close to the marsh has an influence too, I would imagine.
I did have the pleasure of spending time with the trees we planted in the Bogs. It’s the first time I truly saw how big the trees have grown. I owe that, I think, to having been away longer than usual. Growth seems less noticeable when you’ve got your eye on things nearly all the time, or at least quite frequently. Any parent can tell you about that phenomenon, how one day they realize their child has lost the baby or toddler look, has grown taller, more mature. I did not take many pictures of the trees. It’s hard to capture the full majesty of a tree in a photograph (the full majesty of anything big, for that matter). Not that it can’t be done. I didn’t try. Maybe next time.
Now that we are into September, it’s time to talk about Walktober. It is not quite time for the details, of course, but just a mention or two to remind you that it’s coming up. You might remember that I was going to give it up last year and let someone else manage it. I never did make a decision. I am glad I didn’t. I think I’ll need the camaraderie of the event. Maybe we all will/do. So, this is your first gentle reminder that Walktober time is approaching. The object is to get outside, to walk or bicycle or however you want to do it, and then post about it. I realize the event has “walk” in the name, but really, it doesn’t matter. We even had someone drive one year. The point is to get outside, show us where you went, share your piece of the world (or your travels) with us.
I am seriously considering registering for the Seagull Century as my Walktober choice. If you have a bicycle and like to ride, you might want to think about it. It’s being done virtually this year. It takes place from Saturday, October 3rd, to Saturday, October 10th. Normally this is a one day event in which you have to ride either the 100-mile Century or the 100-kilometer (63 miles) Century. The PDF with more information can be found here. I think this might be the only chance I have to actually complete it since I’d have a whole week to do the metric century. It won’t be as much fun as riding to Assateague, but the scenery on the back roads around here is beautiful and there are other ways I can get to and spend time on Assateague, especially in the off-season.
Thank you for stopping by today and spending some time with me. I have been slowly trying to getting caught up with you now that I’m getting a little more settled (and unpacked from the trip). Let’s go out to the Point for sunset this evening and see what we can see. Sunset is scheduled for 7:27 PM. A cold front moved through last night and cooled things off a bit, but it will still be relatively warm. You might even want to go for a swim.
Please be safe, be well, and be kind.
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,521) Studying the concept of santosha (or santosa). Santosha is Sanskrit for contentment or satisfaction. To practice it, it helps to be and/or stay in the moment, to recognize the good and be grateful, to discard expectations and assumptions, and to remind yourself that you are not in control of the world or of many things in this world. (Think Serenity Prayer.) 1,522) Long, slow walks, to see what’s going on around here. 1,523) Listening to whatever there is to listen to. 1,524) My ears popping open so that I can hear better. The cold I picked up from the Little Wookie plugged up my ears as well as my nose. 1,525) Cold fronts and cooler weather after the heatwave we just had. I was able to open the windows this morning and let in the fresh air.