Dear Vi,You might have heard that the streets of Dawson City are paved with gold,but the truth is, they aren’t paved at all.Here’s evidence: boot brushes outside the door of every establishment.And miles of boardwalk.This summer has been a writing retreat for me. I left home with a sketchy idea for my next novel, and today I’m well over halfway there. I’m writing about 1,000 words every time I sit down, which has been about 5 days per week. Sometimes more, sometimes less. When I’m not writing, I’m reading All The Books, which is so incredibly delicious – a summer of unlimited time.
And I’ve been accompanying Sam on his walks, of course. We love to walk up and down the streets, the boardwalk sometimes booming under our feet, sometimes squeaking , often soft with age.
I brought quilting projects and everything I need to sew a blouse, but haven’t taken my sewing machine out even once. And that’s just fine. It’s okay to stop once in awhile to wade in the water and smell the grass.
It was so pretty this afternoon, I just had to take Sam out for a walk. Actually, it was Sam who took me.
I was happily basting a quilt, head down, paying no attention at all to leaves blowing over the lawn, sunshine streaming through the windows and bouncing rainbows around the room.
But Sam grumbled and barked and grumbled and barked until I finally gave in.
We walked through the forest, down a country road, past a horse in the field and a wild apple tree whose branches were busting under the weight of hundreds of little red apples. The sides of the road were covered in blue wildflowers – the kind that will turn to stickers as soon as their blossoms drop. I’ll hate them later, but right now they’re stunning.
I wanted to take a picture of Sam sitting with the flowers. It seemed like the perfect photo opportunity. There I was, squatting on the side of the road, juggling the leash and the camera phone and trying to cajole Sam into smiling (or at least looking interested)…
Yeah, right.After I gave up, we walked back along the beach, where the water level has dropped but the sand hasn’t dried out enough to walk out very far without getting muddy.
Have you ever chosen a word
just one single word
to guide you through the year?
For the last couple of years I’ve held the word balance close to my heart. It was the word that helped me to navigate a very busy life: teaching up to 5 dance classes per week, directing a dance troupe, choreographing and producing shows while managing to have a family life and working a 9-5 day job (phew!)
Balance was the word that got me through to the other side of menopausal depression. I was out of balance physically, emotionally and hormonally. Searching for and maintaining balance was the lifeline that I clung to and the rope I hauled myself up by. It kept me secure during the heartache of deciding to let go of my dance troupe and students. I kept it in the front of my mind during my weight loss journey (65 pounds!). It was the word that taught me to put health and happiness above productivity.
Balance guided me through the waters of deciding to retire relatively young; to move to a new town and seek out new adventures.
Balance: what a beautiful word!
But now it’s time for a new word to live by. It’s time to get out of the box and…
This year I am going to play in my kitchen and learn to bake a cake from scratch. Specifically, some of the Chatelaine cakes. Yum!
…and I will experiment creating delicious meals from all over the globe: India, Japan, Italy, Thailand…! No fear in the kitchen will be my new motto – play with those spices, Nita! Try it out!
In my Creativity room I will play in the sewing nook, on the yoga mat, in-front-of the dance mirror and with words at my laptop.
My body will become stronger as I play outdoors, exploring local walking and hiking trails with Kelly and Sammy. We’ll take our bikes out and explore some of the country roads.
I will play in the garden, discovering all the wonders of living in a zone 5 gardening region.
I vow to put myself “out there” and be open to meeting new friends, getting involved in the community somehow (music? theater? dance?)
My friend Melissa at 100 Billion Stars puts it brilliantly (you can read her entire blog post here):
Play is a way of making room for our potential. It isn’t about pretending to be something we hope to be one day. It isn’t about presenting a different face to the world, trying on masks and personae. It’s about being authentic and true to ourselves in an atmosphere without judgment or rules. It’s from this place that growth begins, releasing the possibilities that have been lying dormant all our lives.
So here I am this morning, wishing you all a wonderful year of play and a hell of a good time doing it!
At the end of the day today, when work is finished and I am back home, I am going to kick off these shoes which hurt my feet even though they are Romikas and cost a fortune 10 years ago.
Every now and then I forget and put them on (they’re still practically brand new though they are a decade old, after all) and wear them to work, as I thoughtlessly did this morning.
In honor of my retirement, I am going to toss all of my uncomfortable office shoes and buy myself a pair of beautiful leather boots – the kind that barely come to your ankle. The kind that feel like gloves on your feet, so when I go walking around my new town, to the grocery store and the library, meandering across the railroad tracks and down to the wharf, my feet will carry me in elegant comfort: practical and proud and damn fine looking.
And I am going to buy myself a second pair of boots – sturdy hiking boots so that my feet can carry me in safety and comfort up hill and over dale, on hidden forest trails and across high alpine meadows. Working boots for my working- gal feet.
This is my 7th installment of Just Write, an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments. I am linking up with The Extraordinary Ordinary.