One of the many benefits of bike commuting is finding those little gems a person encounters only by slowing down. Here’s one I discover while waiting at a traffic light.
For me, a year has a few transition points: the harvest and cold-weather holidays, July 4th (my birthday), and annual Maine Vacation.
Going back around eight years, a group of friends, loosely connected via my alma mater, have gathered at a farm house on Worthley Pond. We cook for one another, play games, and challenge each other to accept our quirks and eccentricities for up to ten whole days in a sort of self-imposed group-isolation.
People say it’s good to take a vacation to recharge. Our Maine Vacation is more a reset. A shoring up and storing the clear pond-smell, sunsets, and quiet moments with my partner. I time-release these memories slowly throughout the hectic fall. ‘Till next summer.
My internal writing critic, like most, is full of doom and gloom. It declares things like: you’ll never be a prodigious writer. Authors don’t make enough cash to live on. You don’t know what you’re talking about.
This kind of inner talk has a dangerous dampening effect on, say, novels, poems, plays. But blogs, and more specifically Whole Heart Local? Meh.
When my critic says scornfully, with unsurprising frequency: nobody reads your blog. They don’t care what you have to say.
I reply, currently: beh.
I read WHL. And love it! And so appreciate the opportunity to plan for, dream about, and write it, still, 200 posts later. And to celebrate, we’re hosting a giveaway, WHL and me.
Lauren Murphy, herbalist, strong-lady (rumor has it she can lift 600 lbs with her LEGS,) master cheese-maker (no kidding), and good friend, will be debuting her new herbal line Lala Earth this September. Through her enormous generosity, WHL is giving away loose-leaf tea with the theme of love. And if THAT weren’t enough, I plan to pair it with a small treat from one of JP’s wonderful, local businesses.
On to the giveaway. All you gotta do is leave a comment. That’s it! One comment, about any such subject as your heart desires. Or “hi!” That’s nice, too. The winner will be chosen by random on Wednesday, August 21.
Once upon a time, I learned a fine method for departing with items once cared for, but currently out-of-use: take a picture.
After stockpiling a selection of T-shirts that I wore pretty much to-death, I decided to enlist some assistance and employ this method. The result? A virtual, visual library of memories spun from cotton and dye. I’m still the person I was, who purchased or received these shirts as gags or gifts or glimmers of who I was leaning towards being.
I miss the opportunity to wear them, now that (most of) these old Ts have been converted to dust cloths and hankerchiefs. I don’t miss the burden of owning more than I can appreciate wearing.
It’s a pivotal age, I think, 35. For one, I can no longer click the radio buttons for 30-34 on demographic questionnaires. I’ve been bumped to 35-40. That’s kind of sad.
On the plus side, I’ve enjoyed my thirties -the feeling settled in my skin as my own quirky self, the way others appear to listen more closely when I speak from that space of knowledge which comes with experience- so more thirty, more delight, right?
I rarely engage in big shindigs just for myself, so this year, having friends over for a light brunch, strolling through one of Boston’s grand community gardens, dining at the funky-fine establishment of my favorite Boston-area baking/restaurant mavens, and catching sight of the Boston Fireworks in an unexpected local, felt perfect.
For all that is said about how connectivity via the Internet can be a path to real-life loneliness, for as much as I love sliding open the narrow, wooden drawer that contains my letter writing supplies, in 1996 I was handed a gift: my first email address. They called it Eudora.
Eudora was clunky and eventually I transitioned to a version of Hotmail that bears little resemblance to the app I use today on my iPod Touch. (ring, ring. 1996 is calling, it says: an i-WHAT?) (blip, bloop. hey, 2013 texted. It said: surrender your antiquated email client!)
Things happened. And things happened. I grew into a “full-fledged adult” and I rolled my eyes and said: what’s this you say about a face book? I’m not in college anymore. I don’t want to be found. No thanks.
And things happened some more. I carefully ignored then fell victim to numerous web-based communication forms. I hoed my new digital world with a plastic rake.
One day I glanced up and realized the sheer number of people with whom I would no longer have contact without the advent of curious computer languages, (with their funny “<” and “;”), that somehow keep me better informed of new babies, passed on grandmothers, and the hilarious antics cats get up to, than a telephone ever did.
So thank you Internets for round-about bringing our friend, professional photographer Kristy Rowe of Moodeous Photography, to our door, all the way from Denver, Colorado. We shot some awesome pictures in the real-life world, though statistically the three of us were more likely to be separate and lonesome in our homes, serenading our computer mice clickety-clack while bench-pressing bottles of Dr. Pepper.
Also, thank you cats.
On my morning bike commute to work, I’ve noticed that my mind tends to operate in several modes. Usually: Morning Mind God of Destruction and Morning Mind Gratitude.
Morning Mind God of Destruction, as you can imagine, sounds something like this: Use your blinker! WHAT is WRONG with you? I can’t believe that other cyclist just did that -he’s definitely not long for this world. LMA buses are the worst. What am I doing with my life? The best thing about today will be when I can finally go back to bed. I will STARE you into submission! Hungry already.
Morning Mind Gratitude: Riding my bike through the woods every day, in a city, is magical. Hi. Hi! I love when drivers wave at me. It feels so satisfying to know what projects I’ll be tackling at work today. I wonder what’s for lunch. Should I stop at Whole Foods for some kombucha? I’m so lucky. I really should learn a blessing to direct at irate drivers so I can check that goal off my list. Hey, there’s that singing cyclist again!
What forms do your morning minds take?
In studying the art of blogging, I have a fuzzy memory of reading how important (and polite) it is to acknowledge and thank visitors and blog-subscribers. I thought: oh, yes, of course! Then promptly forgot. For, oh, I don’t know, two years.
Folks who’ve been so kind to stop by WHL and spend a little time in my world. Friends-to-be who’ve left thoughtful comments. Family and friends-of-old who have sent words of encouragement. THANK YOU.
Mine might be the voice behind WHL, but you are the reason I’m here.