Sunday, July 7, 2013

I'm Biding My Time

It is such a great thing to have made a day of it and to know that all is well with the world. I’ve had some of those down through the years. You know it has been one when at the end of the day you just feel complete, or somewhat at peace with yourself and those around you. It would be great if it happened every day, but we know that life does not afford us those victories all the time. There are lots more that end up with a bit of that feeling that there may have been more, or well something is missing and it can gnaw at our ability to rest satisfactorily.

Down our way there are lots of things to see, but not many of what we call bi-roads. You may call them something else in your location; secondary roads perhaps or country lanes. There are so many that can be traveled in a lifetime and many we love to travel over and over again, because at the end, there is something special to see or experience. I remember back a few years to my youth, taking trips with our parents down many of those country roads. We were explorers, setting out to new adventures and seeking new experiences and each little lane and old dirt road was just another avenue of delight in our eyes. Those weekly trips called for a complete loss of control. Not that Dad let go of the steering wheel, but he let go of the stereotypes of the ordinary and the practiced. There was chance that by the end of the day we would have seen most of the back roads of almost any part of the South Shore of Nova Scotia. That meant loosely targeting an area and then letting the road rise before us and not being afraid of a few signs of hard travel. Yup… My Dad and Mom were adventurers and they feared not as the road narrowed and there tended to be a few more bold representations of waterholes and large rocks to be gotten over or around. It was all part of the quest to find new treasures… memories never forgotten.

I have been thinking of late…. I know, some will say that is dangerous, but I do stop and take stalk of the time and tides as the clock ticks on. It may be an appropriate season of life to go on a few of those adventures again. I think, as much as that is practical, that the old haunts at this point in time may hold for me a few “new” surprises, some new forms of adventure that may have eluded me some 50 years back. I am not so myopic at this point… well… that is my opinion and I am allowed to have one by virtue of my age… right? LOL

But life becomes cluttered. The opportunities do not always align with the right time and the time does not always align properly with the correct mood and the mood does not always match the atmospheric conditions… well you get my point. The “stuffs” of life get in the way. I heard, well more correctly read a thoughtful, yet odd suggestion a while back… it was, needing to watch a TV program on hoarding to feel like we are not such a bad housekeeper. Hmm! At first I chuckled and then I let my imagination run with the idea that we do hoard “stuff” and not only that cumulative pile of junk that could go to the annual yard sale or the local Thrift Shop. I mean the stuff we poke into the memory banks in most inappropriate ways and with little justification, other than the fact that we carry those burdens just as that… Burdens! They may eat away at our sense and our sensibilities and cause the joys of life to elude us, when there are those once more adventurous, more freedom granting and joy filling experiences of the Roads Less Traveled;  as a thought from Frost. Hope I can get away with that, but I do give him credit as that bit of prose (and I do love poetry) as it has been somewhat of a guide in life for me.

But I digress. Where was I… Oh yes, the clutter…  Now that is the bane of our existence. We tend to trip over it on the way to living every day. If I had a broom that could handle that mess of useless, hard to handle, self-limiting and downright baffling mess, I would market it and make a fortune. What am I saying?… more, more, more and what I need is less, less, less! Well, you get the drift here. There is always another definition, another justification and another route that seems quite right at the time, and we all play in that sandbox at some point in life, without fail.

Ha… ya, now there is a word… to fail. My view of failure is another’s view of freedom sometimes… all in a person’s perspective in life. That thinly struck line is a demarcation of the things that can get us down. It’s kind of like a tempest in a teapot; we can get struck by the overwhelming sense that whatever it is, becomes too big to handle; when in fact we just need to breathe. Perspective is an awesome teacher. To some life is a haphazard heap of one hardship after another and for others it is the joy of daily challenges that can create just another adventure. Hmm…. Wonder where I “FIT” in there. Perhaps somewhere between challenged and haphazard. Oh well, I just gotta be me, but the clutter needs to be controlled. Yup… gonna control the clutter!

I sometimes wonder, as I wander along the path, if I am stuck or struck. Have you ever thought about that? We can get stuck in life and we can get struck in life as well. We all know, I would suppose, that the idea of being stuck is somewhat a familiar concept and easy to relate to, for some or perhaps even many. “Been there and done that”, some might even now be rehearsing. But the struck concept… now that is a bit different “kettle of fish”… OK... the use of “geographic centered terms is limited to those of certain backgrounds, but hey… walk nearer the edge and use some creative research. Have you ever taken a hard knock to the head, an unexpected hit to the mid-section? Well, it can take the wind out of you, stun you and even cause damage that can affect you in the future. It can’t always be averted, or they can hit you when you didn't see it coming. Sometimes there are those things which just happen, but they have consequences both short and long-term and the sting can be paralyzing at many different levels.

You see clutter is the backyard pile of non-essentials, it is the closet of hoarded past that no longer fits, but felt good to wear, it is the day to day stacks of papers, magazines, dishes left unwashed, laundry still to be started, but it is also those physical and mental pictures, feelings and fears that hide in the crevices of time and season. I am dependent, not so much anymore, upon other’s grace to get me through. That is hard. I am trying to deal with the clutter, in its various forms in life, and am using the overall mechanics and mechanisms of life to get me through… I am biding my time. The one great tool I have at my disposal is love… and another thus far is memory. The latter can be a curse if you are not careful. The way I see it is this… I am loved more than I can imagine, I have been taken on some pretty great adventures and my God has gotten me both to them and gotten me safely home thus far. Family growing up, family being grown and family being expanded has been a blessing. A set of friends, associates, travel more than some and perhaps more than most and now back home again… But now, I am biding my time. Letting go of the clutter, yet busy building what is both important to my those around me and am preparing for years of more adventures and another trip home when the time comes.

I've got some old country lanes and back roads to revisit too! There are some older faces to look upon once again and find the love that is “at harbour” there, while sharing some moments with some new faces would be great too. We are doing some of that every day, as new experiences turn the pages of time and tide. Why don’t you take a step towards the edge? We are on that journey anyway. Look a little further out… it is new perspective and the view from there may be challenge, but what a great view it is!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Adjusting to the Dampness

It’s Monday, it’s Canada Day and it’s raining! Well, two out of three isn't bad. As far as the rain is concerned, not too many folks are overly excited about the dampness that has invaded our Maritime summer in 2013. I have been watching the tourists come and go by home, on their way to explore the waterfront; some carry umbrellas, while others just stroll along adjusting to the dampness and nothing seems to be amiss.

Maybe that is where my thoughts are going this morning… adjusting to the dampness. As you know I am preparing a site for my new woodworking shop and it continues to rain. Nothing can dampen your spirits like the rain, but there are other factors that climb on board of our psyches and tend to take us for a ride in the wrong direction by times. There have been a few of late for me. Some things I talk about and others, well they are things I try to live through, and endurance is the name of the game in life. I see in others the lines of wear in their facial expressions and listen to the pain of experiential sadness that can envelope the soul for a myriad of reasons in life. We all try to do our best and there are days that our “best” can fall short of the mark we set for ourselves.

Years ago my Mom told me to aim high lest our best fall short of the horizon. Shooting for the stars was a practical bit of advice until it came to living the practical side of rural life with parents whose definition of the stars may not align with Jupiter… LOL. We can spend much time trying to calculate the cause and effect of the practical things we are wishing to undertake and miss the mark of what is the here and now. There is that tree! Such a small insignificant sapling not too many years ago, grew into the giant ash that was pushing over a building and we didn't seem to notice. Now that is dampness!

Others, result from years of seeping leaks in roofs and walls, around doors and windows; unnoticed until one day while cleaning, painting or inspecting… there it is… mould, mildew and rot. That can mean major repairs, refits and sometimes a total rebuild. That is where I am… in the midst of a total rebuild and the soul can take a beating if we let the lack of "Sonshine" diminish our view of what really is life. I can attest that projects, no matter how seemingly insignificant, can have their stress points. “IF” I allow myself to become so steeped in the externals of life, while not caring for the internals, I get lost.

Lost is a big word for some because it can stir up all kinds of memories, feelings and reactions that we may not expect. For others, it will just be a word that has meaning for practical reasons… for those “others” along the trail of life. We don’t want to be one of “them”! How convenient to shift the unsavoury hardships of life to only those who wear their lives on their collars. Having been part of an elite part of society for years… (OK,so it sounds fancy… but it wasn't…) I can tell you that we all have struggles and how we hide the stress, or more to the point, deal with the stresses of life, all fall into the same category of stress, even though dealing with it seems more acceptable than wearing it.

For example; many are those who transfer or offload stress… change the pattern by giving it to someone else… no longer their responsibility. Perhaps we do that in life and don’t realize we are doing it. If we pretend something is not there and it is not our responsibility… it does not exist. I am afraid not; that will not work. Somehow that route taken always comes back to bite us. In life we must take the rain with the sunshine and live through both the elements with a desire to see the challenges before us, as well as the benefits gained by our dealing with those challenges, as we face them daily.

That darn root. So I cut off the offending limb and yet I am confronted by a root system that has pushed the foundation stones out of place. You can see my dilemma. Not only was the limb an offending problem, but now deep roots from that original sapling are causing my blood pressure to take Zamba lessons. Talk about cardiovascular! I have chipped away at the site, uncovered part of the root system, sprayed water around the offending foe and still I feel lost. I don’t want to kill the tree, have it left less secure and open to disaster later on for both me and my neighbour. So I walk away during the heavy rains and research… you know the routine. Take a nap (you can do that when you are old and retired) and maybe when you wake up the answer will be forthcoming! LOL! Nope; nothing yet. Actually, my system has gone askew a bit… something that I have to expect from lingering problems following my illness in India in 2012, and this past week was one where I did little and had to rest a lot! That root system, while annoying, is just another challenge that will take a bit of work to overcome. Overcoming is the challenge. Not overlooking… overcoming. What I cannot do alone, I will do with help and it will get done.

So, dampness can get us down, it can cause our outlooks to be clouded, it can even depress us to the point of despair, if we don’t look beyond the rain and see the "Sonshine." In the group there were 2 adults and what seemed to be 3 teenage children and they walked a bit, danced a bit and stopped a bit to view the architecture and the “curious” nature of the street . We do have rather an eclectic assortment, if I must admit it myself. The drizzle was only of secondary importance it seemed. They were out of the car, van, camper or motorhome and were exploring new territory… they were living. The rain got them wet but the body and clothing would dry…. For now there was something to be experience and liquid sunshine was just another part of the day for them.

Watching them saunter along gave me a new perspective that morning. Even though my week was one with its own set of frustrations, I realized that I need not deflect, transfer or neglect the problems at hand, but just take them as they were. Each has its own challenge for sure, but each has its own solution as well. I guess the reasons behind dampness in areas of life may be as varied as they are many, but rather than be overcome by the effects, I am once again (as I tend to overlook that by times you know) peering through the mist and rain and seeing the sunshine in life. It may come in my own view of an eclectic assortment of challenges, but more often it come from family, friends and community; “that eclectic assortment of people and places I call home.”

Ah there may have been a bit of mildew on the old trunk this past week, but a new week is ahead and I see "Sonshine" through the clouds and that alone can turn things around for me, when I give Him a chance. So, if the rain has dampened your soul, do a little dance if you can, smell the rain freshened air and let the sunshine of the smiles of others help make your day cheerier. Take a walk along the edge today, give life a new spin, shuffle the cards and see what the deck holds for you, throw the dice in a new direction and see if it comes up snake eyes or double sixes! Hey! Walking near the can be a challenge, but it all depends on your perspective of the view from there. Go take a rainy day walk and see for yourself! Blessings!