Present Tense

Stream of consiousness….

I’m in a rut.  And you?  I guess we have to define it first and that might be tricky because I suspect that my rut ain’t the same as yours.  Mine might be partly due to where I live, which is in a small town in the Rocky Mountains, northwest of Denver.  It’s cold and snowy and during the winter, you feel pretty isolated from your neighbors.

This year, the snow has been sporadic, which isn’t optimal for a community that thrives on skiing and the visitors the ski resort brings in.  My husband and I usually ski several times a week, but this year the conditions have cut our outings considerably.  This equates to too much time in the house sitting and thinking.   Too much togetherness, too much time spent watching uninspiring TV.  I feel like I’m waiting for something, anything to happen.  A rut.

Some of my friends have advised me to move closer to ‘the city’, but I’m not sure that would solve my problem, which if I’m honest, is 80 percent internal.  I spend time in the city and although there is much more to do and the conveniences are a lot more….well, convenient, I suspect that city living can be just as rut-inducing as rural life.  Seems as if the typical city/suburb dweller spends an inordinate amount of time in their car, shuttling kids, commuting to and from work, running errands and that’s stressful and tedious.  The more stuff and conveniences you have around you, the more compelled you are to ‘run out for a few things’.  So, you can be in a sort of suspended animation with few choices or suspended animation with too many.  I’ll take the former for my rut.

I know this about myself: I need space and more importantly, I need nature; in large doses.  I can be impatient and I often demand instant gratification.  Nature enforces patience, solitude and to a certain extent, doing without certain conveniences (like Whole Foods or Bed, Bath and Beyond and worst of all, Target!).    As I write this, I’m looking out of the window at a snow covered meadow, where we routinely see foxes hunting and playing, mule deer grazing and occasionally a moose or two.  As I was driving early yesterday morning, I saw two beautiful snowshoe hares.  They’re so white in the winter that they are absolutely luminous.  Every time I see one, it takes my breath away. In the spring, they go back to a brownish-gray color and are impossible to spot.  Patience.

Spring takes forever to arrive at 9000 feet and so I’m perusing seed catalogs for a garden I won’t be able to plant until June (if nature cooperates) and we eyeball our firewood supply, hoping we won’t have to dig through 3 feet of snow for more.  We get the hummingbird feeders out in late April to have them ready for the arrival of our harbingers of summer, who show up every year, without fail, by the second week in May.  Patience.

Look, I know that for a lot of you, this is a foreign concept.  You’re happy and fulfilled and I envy you.  I know that I spend way too much time in my own brain; thinking, planning, worrying, plotting, ‘what iffing’, which is probably why I’m sitting and writing, when I could be out ‘doing stuff’ on a Saturday morning.  I require a lot of solitude to recharge my batteries, which can also begin to drive you a little crazy.

So, I guess it’s perfect timing that my husband is out of town for a few days because the effect has been a break in our routine.  I think that sometimes we have such symbiotic relationships among spouses, kids and maybe even co-workers, that we move in tandem.  We’re almost tied together with strings and we share habits, routines, comfort zones.  With him out of town, I feel free to move differently.  For instance, yesterday I listened to ‘my’ music most of the afternoon, without feeling like I was imposing on anyone else.  I grazed, instead of fixing a meal for both of us; I turned off the TV and went to bed with a book and read late into the night.  All things that I don’t do when living in symbiosis with my husband.

A minor shift in my universe and I feel less rutted today.  Better….and you?

February 11, 2012 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , ,


  1. I see you have played with the notion that “rut” is a state of mind and not a product of circumstance. Good for you. Most of us don’t get that far. I think that, in general, we find ourselves in a rut when we would rather be doing something else. Even if we cannot name what that something else is. So we find ourselves restless without knowing why. Maybe it might be useful to find out why. How can you do that? I feel a good starting point was noticed a long time ago. Lao tzu is credited with saying “At the center of your being you have the answer; You know who you are and you know what you want.” So what does that mean? For me, when I feel restless, I grab hold of it and follow it back to it’s source. Usually I find that it is a result of a disconnect with my center. The center of my being is at rest anywhere and in any circumstance.

    Comment by Greg | February 11, 2012 | Reply

    • I did. I tend to think that my restlessness is rooted in geography, when it’s mostly my internal landscape:) Thanks for the comment; I shall seek my center!

      Comment by janelondon | February 12, 2012 | Reply

  2. Nice Jane. I drive 22 miles to our cottage and get those much needed times alone to reflect and to be totally in charge of what to do next. The art of not having to consider anyone but yourself. Not selfishly but more spiritually for the betterment of all involved. Really appreciate your writing and that I know you.

    Comment by Tim | February 11, 2012 | Reply

  3. Jane: I have an old friend who says the only difference between a “rut” and a grave is the depth of the hole! I disagree – but think he is a very funny person. So – here is what I say – enjoy the scenery while you view life from your “rut” – who knows – you might see something beautiful! Amy

    Comment by Amy | February 12, 2012 | Reply

    • Amy, that reminds of the people who say “I can sleep when I’m dead”…..Some of us kind of enjoy the ‘routines’ of our lives; in fact, in many cases, we arrange our lives to accommodate that comfort zone. I just need a little variation now and then:)
      Thanks for your comment.

      Comment by janelondon | February 12, 2012 | Reply

  4. I love this Jane. The symbiosis is wonderful and comforting but can be numbing too. Glad you are better.

    Comment by talktraffic | February 13, 2012 | Reply

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