Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Taking a Step Back from Life

On Sunday, I drove out to my mom's house for a family gathering.  My brother and his wife are in town and my mom wanted us to see her newly renovated bathroom and mudroom. It had been quite a long time since we were all at my mothers house.  She lives about an hour away from my house in Sardinia, NY where the trees are all around you and the grass is such a lush green and goes on for miles and miles.

My week had been full to the brim with working, training at the gym, and a total focus on my personal goals. Every hour of the day was scheduled, even Saturday.  When sunday rolled around, all I wanted to do was sleep and play with my cats. Instead, I got up, went to the gym and started on the drive to my moms. The tears of frustration and fatigue were right at the surface and I knew any one thing could set them off. 

Sure enough, one of my dearest friends sent me a text just to check in and the tears started to come.  I knew I was at a breaking point.  Once again, I found myself in a place where I expected too much of myself and have piled way too much onto my plate. 

No time for crying, I knew I needed to get myself in gear or my mom would be really upset with me.  I was already over an hour late, because I wanted to get my workout in. So, I bought myself my favorite cinnamon chip muffin at wegmans, made some hazelnut coffee and headed on the road.

I popped in a Wayne Dyer CD, in hopes that this would calm my soul for the hour drive.

My mind focused on the road and the words that Dr Dyer spoke to me for the first 25 minutes, and then just as I began to pass the highway signs for East Aurora, quietude and calm entered my spirit and the stress began to drift away.  The trees hugged me like an old friend.  The memories of what it was like living in the country resurfaced.

I soon passed the Town of Wales and then, the Town of Holland embraced me just as it had many years ago.  It called out to my soul as I unconsicously slowed the car down.  I drank in the country style homes, the corner taverns, the small store fronts and the Bank of Holland on the corner. And then there they were, Joanne's house, my house, Marg's and across the street was Helen's.  Helen's house was for sale, that saddened me.  A sign that life continues to move on, despite the fact that you want time to stand still.  I wanted to stop and just breathe in the memories, but I knew I must continue on to my mom's, another 15 minutes away. 

My family was kind and only harrassed me for being late for about five minutes. The afternoon was delightful as some of the guys and my niece Shelby caught some sunfish and bass in the pond. The air was just right, not too hot,  not too cool. The summer sun shone brightly, and my nephews son Connor, who is all of 20 months old, was frolicking around the grass in his bare feet, shorts, shirtless and ringlet blonde hair. Dinner was casual with chicken and poultry sausage on the grill with sides of potatoe salad and baked beans. We couldn't have asked for a better day. 

All the while I was there, soaking up the country air, looking at the flowering lily pads and listening to the sounds of birds and insects, relishing time with my family, I wondered  to myself, how did I allow myself to get on the hamster trail again?  My mothers husband had a simple and profound answer for me as he was flipping the sausage in the grill, he simply said "Get out of your head and listen to your heart."

I had no reply, as I knew he was right.

Those five hours in the remote woods, in a log cabin house, brought me back to a place of peace and contentment, back to the simpler things I love.  Home, family, gardens, nature, animals.

Having resistantly drove out to my Mom's, I found myself reluctant to leave and even contemplated staying for the week.  Slowly, I made my way out of the driveway, smelling the air that was now turning crisp as dusk was soon approaching.  I love the summer, nightime air in the country, it has that certain smell about it.

I stopped the car before I made the turn onto the highway.  It was as if something inside of me was saying, No, don't go back, leave it all behind. As I pulled out, something else was saying, Get Moving! as the car behind me was going full speed ahead at 55 miles an hour! I put the pedal to the metal and was on my way. Apparently, the universe was not going to let me just sit there!

I savored every mile of that trip home.  And I even stopped in front of Marg's house to see many of her furniture out on the front porch.  Apparenlty, someone was trying to clean out the house finally, two years or so after she has passed on.  I starred for awhile and then turned my attention to Helen's house.  The trim around the windows had been painted but the exterior was still white as it always had been. I glanced at the house, that once mine, large but friendly. The porch swing that was a gift to me was still there and flower baskets were hung, just as I had done so many years ago.  I thought of stopping at Joanne's to see if anyone was home, but it was already getting late and I wanted to make sure I got home to spend some time with my cats, they had been alone quite a bit this weekend. 

My inner spirit had changed within a short time and I didn't want to let go of it.  That feeling of contentedness was missing in my life and I desperately wanted it back.

As I laid my head on the pillow that night, I brought myself back to the days that I lived in Holland.  I wanted to be there in my dreams.  I wanted to fill myself with that contentment and let it seep into my body so that I would never again lose sight of what is truly important and what isn't.


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