Welcome Home

A neighbor dropped off the cobbler and the soup.

I greeted him from behind the closed screen door.

“Welcome home,” he said; he turned away.

Small acts of kindness set down like homemade vegetable soup on your doorstep.

We live to lighten each other’s load, of course, we do.

Yet when someone lightens your load, it comes as a surprise.

The load unexpectedly lighter.

The heavy weight drops. You were unaware of how much you carried.

Just because of the soup.

Just because you’re anxious,

Doesn’t mean you’re not right to be. You still get to laugh.

A lot.

Laugh more.

While you dance and the floor collapses and the space expands.

And yes, in meditation, the rising and falling of breath, the expanding and collapsing.

The rising and falling of sunshine and moonshine, dance partners,

Taking turns.

Like this planet turning around the sun.

Life and home and welcome and distance.

Gone from the city for a week, in ways we are more connected.

We are more reflective.

Who knew walking the dog would save me?

I never had a dog. I’m liable to make mistakes.

Who wants to be perfect anyway?

Yesterday, I gave up. I said, “Forget the family dinners. It’s too much work for me. Too much bickering from the three of you.”

And then the kids cooked dinner and I set the table.

I was on an island, and the kids came on a boat to rescue me.

And we laughed. And we bickered more. And cleaned up together. Mostly.

This is not Gilligan’s Island. Or a sequestered monastery in Switzerland.

But life is richer and more full of gems.

Gems of compassion and heartbreak.

The world is both simpler and more complicated than we ever knew.

I needed the homemade soup, the pizza, the rescue from my neighbors, children, friends.

I needed the “Welcome home.”

I took Charlie for a nature walk this morning. Travels with Charlie.

Running Without a Soundtrack

The silence running in the country was deafening.

I could not find my head phones. I usually run with ear buds listening to Pandora and the Omar Shariff sound-alike who calculates the distance of my run on my Cardio Trainer app.

I like running to Britney Spears songs like Piece of Me or Pat Benatar’s Hit Me with Your Best Shot. I think, “Yay, world, hit me. Try getting a piece of this.”

I know, I know. I am delirious after just five minutes of running, wondering, Is it time to take that well-deserved water break or walk yet? The music keeps me going.

So running without Britney, Pat or Omar, I felt a twinge of loneliness. The steadiest sound was the scraping labor of my own breath. Then the silence came alive.

running on a country road

There was a cawing of a crow, an old Buick rounding a corner, the wind swishing the hay in the field, and in the mix, my breath.

My breath was just a speck on the country road. Running helps you figure out where you fit in, a small piece in a big picture.

For this epiphany I rewarded myself by slowing down and walking.

Country Road

I always walked the same loop in the mornings from my husband’s Big House. It starts with an uphill dirt road, moves to the paved Dudley Road, past the 1812 School House (my graphics of my girls doing headstands is photographed there); down a dirt road, through the field at the Stable Inn, across some brush, along the unpaved Cold Spring Road, through a whisp of a path in an old Cedar woods, across the lawn, and back home. 

“I’m back!” huffing and puffing. Arrived at the Big House. No one missed me, no one knew I was gone.

The path is lovely, if not a bit treacherous. Lots of challenges – the cars on the paved road, the steep downhill to the field, the German Shepherd that barks in front of the seemingly abandoned Stable Inn cottage, the possibility of Poison Ivy in the brush. Not to mention the loose rocks on the uphill horsetrail, the creaking trees about to topple on me in the woods, the spongy wetness of the Big House lawn. 

So I figured this trail, which takes me about 30 minutes to walk, was about 3 miles or so. I don’t know why I thought that. But this weekend, I used the free app that I downloaded and love, Cardio Trainer, and discovered to my utter dismay, the loop is 1.8 miles and it took me (in my run 5 mins./walk 1 min. method) 25 minutes, which the app informed me was about a 14:04 mile pace.

Okay I did stop and chat with the neighbor, Fran, for, I don’t know, maybe two minutes.

It’s just so disappointing. All these years, I thought I was walking for miles only to discover, I’ve not gone as far as I’d thought. At least I’ve overcome all of the above-mentioned obstacles as I walk or run. And for sheer beauty, I don’t think you can beat it. There must be a lesson in this. Enjoy the beauty; pay no mind to your app. Keep running. Keep walking.