Archives for category: Oregon Trails

Yesterday was lovely. I had a decently long list of things I had determined “needed” to get done, and after a leisurely coffee in the morning, some time lingering on the deck in the morning chill, and gently catching up on world events, I got off my ass to work the list.

I gave up after about 2 decently productive hours. The crisp sparkling autumn sunshine kept catching my attention and tempting me into the outdoors, and I quickly “re-evaluated my life” on a small scale and decided to go hiking instead of doing housework. πŸ˜€ Yep. That’s a thing I sometimes do.

I’m glad I did. The two hours I spent walking in the sunshine felt amazing, and I guess I really needed that time, out there in the trees. The local trail I chose is nearby, rather steep, and “doesn’t really go anywhere” in the sense that one must either commit to a very long hike, or do one of several out-and-back hikes possible on a combination of shorter trails. I hear it is a popular area to hike. I had the trails to myself on a beautiful mild autumn day.

Well, I had the trail to myself, except for these guys, and lizards, birds, squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons… I was never alone.

It was quite a lovely hike. I returned home feeling properly recharged and refreshed, and although it had not been my intention, quickly worked off a few more items from my list of things to do.

The busy week ahead may blow me off course in a number of ways, and I contemplate how to best take care of myself this week, as I sip my coffee. In anticipation of my sleep routine being thrown off by my odd work hours ahead (long late shift Monday, very early shift Tuesday, concert night out Thursday…) my brain “helped me out” by getting an early start on that, and I slept like crap last night, waking often, rather pointlessly, and struggling to return to sleep. Anticipatory sleep disturbances are entirely annoying. I’m still smiling. I still feel pretty good. I sip my coffee and put my attention on those positive details; they have more value for building implicit memory that will tend most to support good emotional wellness. It’s a practical thing. It requires practice. πŸ™‚

Figuring out how best to maximize my opportunities to spend time with my Traveling Partner is high on my list of things to do to take care of me. I’m excited that he’ll be in town. Our planning includes a visit to my new residence, and perhaps even an overnight visit, or at least something more than a few minutes to walk through the place. I include in my planning – and in my daydreaming – regular reminders that “things don’t always turn out as planned”; my Traveling Partner lives his life with “spontaneity settings” turned all the way up. lol The way I see it, I may not do any writing tomorrow, and may not write on Friday, depending on time, timing, and how many spoons I really have left.Β  Busy weeks are hard sometimes. Fuck I am eager to see my Traveling Partner, though, and the fact that this is a busy week for other reasons, while inconvenient, isn’t going to prevent me doing it. πŸ˜€

Okay. I’ve got plans. I’ve got a flexible mindset. I’ve got verbs. I’ve made choices. I’m ready for the week… The journey is the destination.

I’m walking my own path. I am my own cartographer.

I’m ready to begin again. πŸ™‚

 

I woke to the alarm. My coffee this morning is a tasty Americano. I am wrapped in modest comfort, and feel safe, cared-for, and content. It’s a nice start to a Wednesday.

I hadn’t been up long before I started feeling that weird nagging sensation that is my half-aware recognition that there’s something I meant to do… right. Chickens. I mean, I’d said I would send my chicken references to Her. (Damn, She really needs a better nickname here…) I was delighted to hear her say she’d like to have chickens (me too!!). It felt like a connection, as much as a shared interest.

I put aside my writing to fulfill this commitment, and email over the links to vendors, resources, references, catalogs, and feel warmed by participating in something we share. I remember her asking about pets… I find myself not recalling why, at first, then – her dogs. Of course. πŸ™‚ Chickens – any livestock, really – are pets enough for me. I like creatures. The small wild lizards everywhere there delight me. The inquisitive jays and wily crows make me smile. Her dogs are fun and friendly. What else could I want? Chickens. LOL It’s a small thing to share an interest with another human being. We are so many, and so many of us share interests. It feels good to connect with another person. Get their views. Hear their thoughts. Share my own. Practice listening more than talking, while I’m at it. lol (Still so human.)

I hit send. Finish my coffee. Contemplate the brief remainder of the work week. It was rainy yesterday. There is rain in the forecast for the rest of the week. I’m okay with that. My arthritis is less okay with it. I think about the climate “down there”… “at home”? (Can I say that? I want to. It is a vision of one possible future that I do find very enticing.) My arthritis didn’t bother me pain-wise the entire weekend I was down visiting my Traveling Partner and Her. (Fuck. I need a better name for Her. Something playful and fond.) I still dealt with the stiffness, some, but it wasn’t so bad. The weekend here is likely to be rainy. I’m likely to be in pain. Still… there is much to do and to enjoy.

It’s a good time to winterize the deck and the potted garden.

It’s a good time to give the place a thorough cleaning in preparation for the holidays to come.

It’s a good time to light the pilot light on the gas fireplace for the cool autumn nights and cold winter days ahead.

It’s a good time for a last visit to the Farmer’s Market – maybe the big one downtown?

It’s a good time for long autumn hikes through colorful fall forest along unexplored trails.

There’s nothing fancy on my calendar this week; this one’s for me. A simple enough quiet weekend at home. Laundry, dishes, vacuuming, tidying up, reading a book with my feet up by the fire, sipping coffee in the afternoon…

“WhatΒ  are you doing this weekend?”

Everything. This precious mortal lifetime won’t just live itself. πŸ˜€

 

Beautiful weekend. The sort of beautiful weekend I mark on a calendar, look back on frequently, contemplate, wonder over, and reference in the future. So… I’ve marked it on my calendar. I’ve been looking back on it, already, contemplating it, wondering over it, and here I am in my own “future” (at least, I’m one day beyond the weekend) referencing it. It represents change. It whispers to me about love, family, and contentment. It was weird. Beautiful. Unexpected. Relaxed. Delightful. Peaceful. It was filled with the company of friends, defined by long moments of joy and contentment. It was easy to find stillness – and to enjoy companionship.

I spent the weekend with my Traveling Partner, down at his place, which he shares with his other partner, who was an ex of mine. I put that in the past tense, because I use the term “ex” very specifically, and sparingly, to refer to former (and now discontinued) partnerships and relationships which have been firmly, permanently, completely, entirely, and without any potential future, ended. No continuing contact. “I’m done with that.” She definitely doesn’t fit that definition, now, although I lack language to define our current… situation.

I had a great weekend at her place. I enjoyed her company and her conversation. I realized that there are things I have missed about her (duh, we were in a relationship, once). She was a gracious and delightful hostess this weekend. We had a good time (I say, based on my own experience, from my perspective, without any cause to assume she feels differently, and having heard her affirm the same in her own words). I’ve been invited back, and not just by my Traveling Partner. Wow. I feel so welcomed. I felt so very much at home, in my relationships, as well as wrapped in the gorgeous landscape of Southern Oregon’s Oak Savanna. Beautiful sunrises. The warmth and connection of dear friends and family. It was a wonderful weekend.

It was a splendid autumn weekend, it’s only fitting that it came with a wonderful view. πŸ™‚

The flora and fauna are lovely down there… I want to say “at home” or “back home” or… Yes, I liked it there that much, and for the quality of the company as much as for the landscape. Relationships matter. There was no hint of tension or animus between her and I, and that was lovely. Recognizing that one can indeed “begin again” allows me to do so, even with relationships. It’s a little scary; it could go very wrong (this, whispered to me by the hurt child lurking within, who is, frankly, no judge of good quality relationships at all). The big challenge of new beginnings, by far, is letting go of old baggage… so…

…I begin again. πŸ™‚

Let me circle back on one detail; this was all her. I didn’t take the step across that firm moment of having ended things years ago. I don’t know that I would have. I’m not sure I’m that skilled as an adult. I experienced a moment of powerful respect for this woman who did put her fears and baggage aside, stepped up to me and started a new conversation. “I’d like to start over.” She couldn’t have chosen better words – aren’t I all about beginning again? Wow. How could I not agree? Still, though, this was her moment. I’m still pretty blown away. Nicely done, Woman. Hell of a teachable moment. πŸ™‚ I’m still smiling.

It was a lovely weekend spent with my Traveling Partner, and his lovely Other (who clearly needs a better nickname, here), walking the land, and talking about the future. Our future. (Wow.)

Now here it is Tuesday. The long weekend is over. It’s time to face a new work week. It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

I am slow to wake this morning. The alarm roused me, but I sat quietly for some minutes trying to understand why I was awake, and why the light was on. I have trudged through the morning so far, mostly spent looking over my camping plans for an upcoming weekend of beach camping spent meditating, walking, and observing the autumnal equinox, but not really getting anywhere with my thoughts; I haven’t any.

I notice my first coffee is nearly gone, and more than an hour of my precious limited lifetime too, and still I am not really awake. I add another item to my “to do list” for the upcoming weekend, which I plan to spend on quality of life improvements, generally, and housekeeping, tidying up, and things of that sort. A relaxed weekend of taking care of myself and my living space seems like just the thing to follow a weekend road trip.

I make another coffee. I make some oatmeal. I remind myself to start the dishwasher when I leave for the day. I wonder briefly when I will actually feel awake, and “why today?” I could so easily just go back to sleep… a rare thing for me. I find myself wishing it were already the weekend so that I could – also not my usual approach to morning. A loud irritated sigh punctuates the silence. I definitely need to begin this one again…but…where to start?

This is a very physical experience, so I begin in a physical place. I get up and stretch, and take some deep cleansing breathes, make my way to the kitchen and pour a big glass of water, and take a multi-vitamin. Oatmeal is my common breakfast, but it can’t be said to be nutritionally dense as it is. Coffee? Isn’t water. I walk from room to room drinking my water, and adding a few things to the list of planned weekend tasks. I make a point of being aware of my posture, and holding myself fully upright as I move through my space. I make a point of being aware of my breathing. Hell – I make a point of being aware.

…In time, being “aware” becomes being awake. Beginning again? It’s a thing we get to do, if we choose to do it. There are verbs involved. My results vary. Still… as often as I’d like to do so, I can begin again.

There were other things on my mind to write about as the evening ended last night. Oregon is burning. It’s sort of on my mind, you know? The air is hot, sort of humid or thick feeling in my lungs, and irritating to breathe. The smokey sky has worsened over the past two days, as has the fire in the gorge. I chuckle when I think of the POTUS awkward hurricane Harvey photo-op; I know he won’t be coming to Oregon to be pelted with rocks by black bloc protesters. For some reason, that makes me smile in spite of the terrible natural tragedy of the many wildfires destroying hundreds of thousands of acres of forest as days pass (at least one of which was caused by careless people who didn’t think the fire safety restrictions applied to them). This too will pass. The fires will dwindle, or burn out once their fuel source is consumed. The weather will change, as will the climate. The land will be re-seeded, and will bloom again. More likely than not, the Earth will survive us.

Will we?Β 

Isn’t that what we’re really all afraid of? It’s less about the Earth than it is about our own experience on it. Perhaps we are seeing the end of our human infestation on the Earth…? Grim thought. We could do better with our resources, with our conservatorship of this fragile singularly lovely world, and with each other. We could choose to save the world…

Will we begin again?

 

It’s a simple message. It doesn’t require a lot of words. It doesn’t take any fancy equipment, or elaborate planning or preparation. Just go outside. Get up, step away from the computer, or the television, and put your head – and your thinking – outside the confines of this space.

It’s a challenge, I know, but don’t let yourself drown in the bullshit and drama – even at the congressional level. lol Once you’ve read the coverage once, there’s no special value or extra credit for reading each re-hash of all of those same details. Seriously. News outlets are trying to make money, generate clicks, views, likes, and put their advertisers in front of your eye holes. Advertisers want to sell products. The end goal does not happen to be either truth or accuracy, and it is important to be aware of that.

Go outside.

This is outside.

I’m just saying that there is value in new perspective. There is value in fresh air, sunshine, and even walks in rain showers. There are moments yet left to live – to really live – and most of those don’t happen to become what they could be, seated at a computer, fingers poised over the keyboard, or eyes vague and unfocused as brain candy trickles into one’s visual field.

Also outside.

Some of us don’t have the easy option to “just go outside”, due to physical limitations, illness, literal confinement… things. So – if you’re not in one of those limiting situations, how silly is it to waste the chance? No fooling – the chance to go outside may not exist “forever” (very few things do)… so… What are you waiting for? Get up. Move around a bit. Go outside. Self-imposed isolation has some potentially very unhealthy elements, and…well… outside there are flowers blooming, clouds hanging decoratively overhead or sweeping across the sky, birds, bees, butterflies… There are some lovely sights to see, and paths to wander.

Yep. Outside.

Of course, I write these words speaking from a certain privilege, and I don’t mean to; I’m not plagued by allergies, and I’m still pretty comfortably able to walk, and I don’t immediately burn to a crisp at any hint of exposure to the sun, and… well… I like it outside. lol So, if you have terrible allergies, hate the sun entirely or just crisp up immediately, or can’t put weight on your feet at all, or loathe being outdoors… well, shit. Then I sound like a clueless dick, because I’ve overlooked that we are each having our own experience, and that isn’t at all what I’ve meant to do. Perhaps, instead of going outside, you can distract yourself from the delights of the glowing screen in front of you with a good book, or a conversation with a living person in your actual space, or learn bonsai, or grow a wee container garden, invent a calorie-free-eco-groovy-healthy gummy bear, or… something other than this strange alien digital connection that pumps pre-processed information into your brain by way of your eyes and ears, requiring only that you sit there quietly, scrolling, clicking, viewing, and liking?

That’s really what I am getting at, I think; don’t just let your life pass, sitting there quietly receiving pre-processed, re-hashed, unchallenged information! Make actual use of all the squishy bits stuffed into your cranium! There is a fairly profound difference between “finding stillness within”, by the way, and just sitting still, facing your screen. These are not at all related things.

So.

Go outside. Go outside your comfort zone. Go outside your normal thinking. Go outside your usual routine. Go outside your safe feeling space. Go outside your expectations. Go the fuck outside before the whole of your life is wasted on repetition and distraction. Live your life such that there is something to be distracted from, in the first place. πŸ™‚

This is outside, too.

You know that thing you want to do? Why not go do that? Get a start on it at least, start doing the homework, laying the groundwork, learning all of the things…

How about that stuff you want to know more about… maybe a language you have always wanted to learn, or a place you’ve considered traveling, or something that has always interested you, that you’ve not yet acted on? That’s a nice start, too.

What’s holding you back? Probably the same stuff that holds me back – that holds each of us back; there are verbs involved. Effort. Will. Commitment. The requirement to begin it.

So… ?

Definitely outside.

I sip my cold coffee, wiggling my cold toes in the morning chill. I opened the windows and patio door to cool down the apartment this morning before I was awake enough to recognize that it would not be a warm day. I haven’t bother to close them; I am listening to bird song, feeling the meadow breeze, and watching the cottony gray clouds shift and roil overhead. I’ll finish here and then tidy up a bit; my schedule has changed some, to a later start time for the summer months. Shorter evenings, of course, but… longer leisurely mornings, which I love. I feel very unrushed, which I am enjoying rather a lot this morning. What will my perspective be on the other end of the day, I wonder?

It’s time to begin again… I think I’ll go outside. πŸ˜€