Dark blue tent. White Eurovan Camper Home. Turquoise folding chair. Watercolor paints. Edna Valley chardonnay. Cornflower-blue sky. 1,000-day Gouda. Mushroom brie. Multi-seeded Norwegian crackers. Handy portable generator powering up my LifeIZGood laptop. Layers of blue. Layers of green. Layers of quiet. Translucent breeze. Crashing waves. Cypress trees. Crunching yellowing maple. Two books read. Two paintings done. The poetry of now, the most perfect afternoon of my entire life.
Can every day be like this? Please?
Serenity. As wide as my ocean front yard. It’s getting better. Everything. My health. My attitude. My awareness that every single moment is a gift. It’s all going to work out. I need to stop worrying, planning, overthinking. I need to be here, now, at this graffiti-carved picnic table, in the shade, in the sun, in the bliss, knowing that everything I need is right here.
I need very little to be happy. A comfy place to sleep. A nice enough chair. Healthy food. Pleasant temps. Something to write on–a journal, laptop, a napkin, if need be. My art materials. Wine, of course. A reliable vehicle. Quietude. Music. Family and friends. My pups. Nature, my healer.
I am so profoundly blessed.
I know that not every day will be like this. But right now, it is, and I’m loving it and I’m grateful to be able to place all those worries in a bucket six feet away from me.
I don’t understand why, when I was working and raising kids, that I didn’t make more time for this….relaxation. Taking another day to explore, to rest, to read, to write, to think. I was always so obsessed with work, my students, my home, my children, and grandchildren. I didn’t make time to just be.
Sitting at this scarred campsite picnic bench, doing nothing more than noticing, is like floating over Highway 1, which I can hear to the West. All the doers. All the goers. And there’s me, hanging out without a plan cluttering my mind beyond the yummy dinner I’m cooking tonight or the sunset wine walk I will enjoy. A day in the sun. In the middle of the workweek. In October. The best-kept secret of retirement. Midweek and the Fall, when everything and nothing is possible.
I had NO idea retirement was going to be this regenerating. The PTSD of my life was stunning and exhausting and draining, actually bruising. I didn’t get it until I stopped, took a back seat, got in the van and headed north and west and felt scared and worried and finally fell back into the parachute arms of a very patient, very loving God.
Some readers may bristle with me referencing and crediting God. Certainly, you are more than entitled to your opinion and experience. This blog is not intended to convert or preach. We all have our own beliefs and come to certain understandings at our own time and pace. What I have come to realize about myself is that I am my best self when I give myself space. Writing and art help me to feel calm, to focus on what matters, to feel a sense of peace and love, which to me, is God. Unconditional, forever, love. My best buddy who wants the best for me.
My challenge is to remember this epiphany. Tattoo it across my chest. Document it in a blog. So when those challenges come (tomorrow’s L.A. traffic—dreading it—for example), I can reflect upon this moment of solitude and grandeur, sitting in this alcove of reverence, and know that no matter what comes my way, God is in the center, just waiting to help.