The Loveliness of it All

Photo by Courtney Cook on Unsplash

I was never much of a hugger. Being a New Englander, and earlier having all ancestors from England, I tend to be a little stand-offish.

But I’ve had a few hugs lately that have warmed me from the the top of my head to the tip of my toes. Coming home from Rhode Island means seeing friends after months away. And after Covid (and now double boosted) and not hugging at ALL, I find a need to grab friends and hold on for a few moments.

This morning I had one of those hugs from someone I don’t see very often. After a long squeeze, we caught up, and I found myself answering her questions about family, Rhode Island, travel, and poetry. It was so affirming. I ended the quick conversation with “Life IS good.” I hadn’t said that in a while, and it felt almost overwhelming to admit. I can wallow around in dark places for too long when I start thinking about my health/aging/loss issues.

Landing back here in Virginia was hard. I missed Rhode Island desperately, and being here felt strange and awkward. I mentioned to David how loud it is. We live on an emergency route, so we hear sirens all day and night. People walk home from bars and restaurants late at night and laugh- loudly. Dogs bark. Cars and motorcycles roar their engines. It’s almost too much.

I do berate myself for getting mired in this– after all, I have two really cool places to live, food to eat, heat for my houses, and children/grandchildren I visit with regularly.

But it was good to feel like I was getting over the hump this morning. It was good to realize again what lovely friends I have here. I could feel the weight lifting.

Home Again, Home Again

But where is home?

When people ask where I am from, my answer is: Rhode Island. But I live 3/4 of the year in Virginia and have for more than 45 years.

It’s complicated. I have a love of all things New England, and I find the peace and solitude of my grandmother’s house to be just what I need. People have asked why we don’t move there full time. But our kids are all in the VA area (or close enough to visit), and we have friends and a history here, too.

So we “wobble” back and forth.

I do wonder how long we will be able to keep this up. Packing and unpacking, a horrible 9-hour drive, forgetting things and having to rely on friends in both places to keep us going, and simply the stress of living in two different places will eventually get to me.

Until then…..

Summer learning:

I am writing poetry inspired by my friend Donna’s photography. We have much in common, and we are finding those links in our work and conversations. What a joy it has been…

Learning to sleep again is a challenge. I seem to get a system that works for a while, but then I need to shake things up. For the time being, one of these and two of these help.

My favorite podcast lately is Pulling the Thread with Elise Loehnen. Her most recent with Estelle Frankel has me searching for Estelle’s book.

Now it’s nap time– the effects from the booster vaccination must be kicking in!

Well, hello there new year

I read once that you should find a few things that are treats, things you love, to boost your spirits. So, in addition to capturing morning sunrises, I’ve discovered these:

  • podcasts while I walk (Ten Percent Happier, Untangle, Routines and Ruts, Hurry Slowly, Unlocking Us, Everything Happens and more… (they help me walk longer)
  • a warm really, fuzzy lap blanket that I crawl under to read or watch netflix. I mean, it’s so fuzzy I rub my hands over it constantly- it’s like a fake fur. And it’s blue!
  • hot chocolate in the morning around 10 am (not too late to cause stomach issues but a kind of a boost to keep me going)
  • a bath with lavender oil
  • white flickering fake candles on timers all over the house

I can’t tell you how these simple changes have improved my life. They are not things to be earned but ways to give myself a moment of comfort – just because.

“Have patience with all things. But, first of all with yourself.”

― Francis de Sales

As Time Goes By

This scene never changes.
I am spending time in Rhode Island as I have done my entire life– a summer of rest, of memories, of gratitude.

It’s a little more difficult as I can’t bring Mom. So we don’t tell her we are coming– it would be too difficult for her to understand why she can’t be here. But she is doing well, and I needed some time off.

So we sleep, read, take walks, and enjoy family and friends.

Early Morning Writing

I am a low energy person. If I don’t get important things done by noon, they don’t get done.

Well, that’s a slight exaggeration, but I am definitely a morning person. This photo happened on my way to the gym. I took a slight detour because I could see the sun making beautiful patterns in the sky.

My writing happens in the morning. My planning happens in the morning. And my printing happens in the morning.

Later in the day, I read, take walks (when it’s warm), or catch up on running my cards and prints around town. Anything that takes focus and concentration is over.

I think- no, I know– this is because I’m still not sleeping well. I thought it was stress, but that seems to be dissipating. Perhaps it’s subconscious. Whatever it is, I often watch the clock tick past the middle of the night hours.

Even so, I am grateful for the sights and sounds of dawn. Totally worth it.