Okay, so I came back from the beach and immediately turned around and rented a cabin on the river for four days, which is where the Wowpup and I have been. This prompted my sister to call and cautiously ask, “Are you all right?”
The answer of course, is “yes and no,” because that’s always the most honest answer.
By the end of our week in Rodanthe, I was jangling like a telephone on the fritz. Every current of discord, every minor problem, found itself magnified in my psyche. We came home to Violet’s final service and learned the hard way that one reaction to grief is anger. It occurred to me that my summer, thus far, had given me the emotional equivalent of a road rash, and I needed to be a bit less raw.
Of course it’s possible to hit the “reset” button in the middle of your life, with all its concomitant demands and stresses, but it’s so honking difficult. At home, what Charles Hummel called “the tyranny of the urgent” wins every time. It’s easier among the literal honking of geese and flopping of fish.
At the cabin, my only technology was my cell phone, which didn’t work about half the time. I walked the dog a lot, sketched some, painted some watercolors, read four books, cooked simple meals, did yoga, read A.W. Tozer, kept a journal. I slept in the quiet darkness that was so unlike home.
Right across the river, on a little eyot of reeds, there’s a young sycamore tree. Sycamores are my very favorite trees, because they remind me of home, and because they’re mind-numbingly beautiful. This one is just a baby, but its texture fascinated me, and I spent a lot of time trying to draw it. I could do that every day for the rest of my life and not be bored.
This morning, watching a great blue heron hunt in the shallows across the river, I wished I could stay on. No part of me wanted to come back to town, where it’s hot, the laundry is piled to heaven, and the grass needs cutting. But the whole point of going up on the river is getting the strength to come back, kick the small annoyances aside, man up and get back to real life. Maybe I would get tired of drawing the tree; maybe I need to see the ordinary stuff of my life with different eyes.