Yesterday you spent two hours with that man in the woods – a compass, a walkie talkie, bright snow, bright sun.
You didn’t notice how easy it was - stepping in line with his family, consulting a map, charting a course.
You did notice how blue his eyes were, how quietly he led, how subtly he redirected. You did notice how all comments passed from him to his girls, or you to the girls.
His youngest invited you to dinner. His oldest kept tally.
Twinkle. Twinkle. Kira. Kira.
After finding the last marker you laid in the snow. The family returned inside.
You expected to luxuriate in the sun.
But now the space felt empty. You realize the ease of the last 2 hours. You recognize the lack, now at home, in your chest.
Many times you’ve sat atop a view and it’s been plenty.
It’s been enough.
But now they continue into their lives and you to yours
yet something lingers.
On the drive home he pulls out behind you, girls in back, no one beside.
He follows a while, then passes,
and is gone.
Ahh, so goes my weekend.
Ahh, so goes my life.
I wrote this in March, one week after finishing five years of writing gratitudes, on the way home from a cross country ski weekend where I’d spent a couple hours doing an orienteering activity with a quiet, peaceful man and his two daughters.
So I suppose it is only fitting that yesterday, when I reached 10,000 gratitudes, I was returning from my first camping trip with both he and his daughters.
Then again, it is also true that we all had been camping together before, in a big group, last August, though we never spoke nor noted one another. I can vaguely picture them in my mind’s eye, because there were many adults, but few children.
I was scheduled to post yesterday, on my 10,000th gratitude day, however I arrived home at 10pm from camping and wasn’t ready for bed for at least another hour, and this morning was an early farmer’s market one. So I made quick notes in my journal instead.
- “Let’s go lay in the hammock and watch the sunrise.”
- The audio version of The Phantom Tollbooth ended just as we pulled into the drive, (like the book ended perfectly our last night in the tent).
- Hugging good-bye, I pulled away and he said, “Ummm,” and didn’t let go. “I keep thinking about taking you home with me. Someday.”
- Getting crabby because I am getting to bed late and I have to be at the farmer’s market at 6AM and I need to bike there and there are thunderstorms in the forecast and then I got on the computer quick to print out tomorrow’s market lay-out and there was a sweet message from the sweet man which he sent a couple hours before we left to go camping.
- Despite the message, I was still getting crabby. Becoming aware of this, that my “pain body” was slowly taking over (instead of it unconsciously taking over), then being able to laugh it a little and at the fact that I almost had a meltdown when the kitchen was out of paper towels after I dropped some cantaloupe I was cutting for the next day on the floor.
#1 - To have had the energy to bike to the market, to have packed a breakfast and lunch, to have grabbed my extra bike bag so I could bike home with produce, to spend the day outside interacting with people, that the storms didn’t come during the market, that despite it being quite windy I didn’t have to paddle against it, that I implemented my new eat breakfast at the market strategy so I didn’t have to get up before 5AM and that my childhood friend Becky came to shop.
#2 – I had not seen the aforementioned friend for a few years. Her husband was with her and he thanked me for encouraging him (when I last saw them at the market) to try the community ed tennis league. He said he’s played a few years and that he’d loved it. I didn’t even remember the conversation.
#3 – Being able to drive to clean the yoga studio because if I had to bike I would have had a serious attitude problem. I knew I was going to be tired, so after about 20 minutes of cleaning I took a 30 minute or so nap. It totally shifted me into a quiet space. I wasn’t in a hurry to get done, the only other “thing” I had to do today was type this and I surrendered to the task and the cleaning and I really enjoyed it. I lisened first to nothing, then to the Peter Mulvey CD I recently picked up at the library and then to Prairie Home Companion.
#4 – I’m pretty tired, but the house is quiet, the windows are open, the sky is a stormy shade of yellowish-grey, the rain just began to pour down and I’m about to take a shower and climb into a safe, sheltered bed. Well, I was about to and then realized I probably had a couple emails I should respond to from last week. And then I started getting crabby from being on the computer and then I took a deep breath and slowed the crabbiness down.
Slowed down enough to decide to stop, and leave you with this