Present Tense

Keep your dirt to yourself…..

pileI’m in a weird netherworld right now between old life and new life.  We’ve sold our mountain home, so I had to vacate, but due to work obligations, I’m not able to make the move to the new home in northern Michigan.

So, I’m camped out in a residence hotel in a very busy, congested area of Denver, near the radio station where I work.  Although I’m enjoying the conveniences of the city, the traffic and the loneliness is intense.  I miss my husband and our two dogs who have been gone for about two weeks now. They’ve moved into the new house and the new life, while I am in suspended animation for a few more days.

The immense number of cars and people in a large city fascinates and horrifies me.  It’s dawning on me why people are constantly complaining about ‘stupid people’, ‘horrible drivers’, ‘rude people’.  It feels that way when you’re in the middle of controlled chaos day after day after day.  It wears you down; it chips away at your soul.  It can make you hardened toward your fellow humans because it seems like the whole world is in a hurry and you are merely a dot in this sea of ‘me first’.

Well, we are a dot.  That is true.  But, all of us dots form a large chain of connection and consciousness.  There is a rhythm, even in the aggressive chaos of traffic and people moving around the city; traffic and people moving around the world.

I was at Target this afternoon.  Part of my mission was to get out of my cramped room and the other part was a hunter/gatherer mission for food.  I wandered a bit, as did many of my fellow Target shoppers; some in pursuit of a particular item and some like me, searching for nothing in particular.

I plunked myself in the express lane, fiddling with my smart phone like everyone else in the store.  But, the checker caught my ear.  She was ringing up an older woman who was buying a large and cumbersome cork board, while trying to juggle her purse and write a check.  You know how irritated we tend to  get about the old-school check writers who take up so much time in the check-out lines.  The woman finished her awkward transaction and the checker said,  “Now, you take care, my darlin'”.

She said it with such sincerity and love that I thought she must know this woman and then it was my turn.  She scanned my scant items and efficiently bagged them up.  I swiped my card and she looked me in the eye and said very sincerely,  “Thank you so much darlin’.  Have a nice evening”.

I’ll be honest.  I wanted to linger.  I wanted to express my gratitude for her gentleness and kindness that is so often lost in these transactions.  She took the time to acknowledge each and every PERSON who came through her line.  Not a customer, not a client, but a person.  Even though many of us are rushed, distracted, impatient, frustrated, snotty, self-absorbed, talking on our stupid cell phones, she was efficient and competent, but also kind and connected.

Was it difficult for her?  It didn’t seem to be.  At all.  We choose what we put out to the world.  I’ll be willing to bet that she’s had some pretty shitty things happen in her life.  Maybe she went home to some of them after her shift.  We all have our burdens, but I guess what I’m saying and what I’m learning is that my burdens don’t have to become yours. My shitty day doesn’t have to become your problem.  We live in a time and a culture where it’s become okay to dump all of your dirt onto others and that’s not fair.  That makes for a dirty, nasty world.

I’m thinking that it would be so much nicer and cleaner and clearer if we all kept our dirt to ourselves, in neat little piles.  No spreading it around. That way, we all have a clear path here and there to get to where we’re going.  To walk AROUND that dirt and keep our feet clean.  Sound good?  Here’s your broom……

June 24, 2013 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

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 | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments


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