Life is about the simple things

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“If I am what I have and if I lose what I have, who then am I?” ~ Erich Fromm

I recently sold my gazebo.  It was a beautiful structure but grossly underutilized.  Now when I look out across my lawn I see nothing but nature.  Apart from what looks like a crop circle where the gazebo once stood, it is simple, it is unencumbered and it now more honestly represents the way I live my life.

nature

I am not the sum of my belongings.  I appreciate the eclectic and not the expensive.  I am more comfortable in second-hand jeans and a sweatshirt than I am in a designer dress.  I do not own a coordinating set of anything.  My furniture blends but it doesn’t match and the colors inside of my house reflect the colors outside of my house.  Greens and browns soothe me and that will never change.  It is how I grew up, it is how I live and it is how I thrive.

Life, for me, is about the simple things.  I am not inundated by belongings, I am not overwhelmed by clutter and I am not constricted by a collection of things that are meant to impress anyone other than myself.

I tend to be a homebody and spend more time with my dog after work than I do in public places.  I like to think I am not anti-social but merely selectively social.

Finding happiness in the simple things brings me a sense of peace.  I am not constantly striving to keep up with any trends other than my own.  I am not seeking a status that I never initially wanted and I live by my own rules.

Happiness has a unique definition to each person who has the luxury of finding that elusive feeling.  Mine is a simple definition, explained with simple words and carried out in the most uncomplicated way.  I live honestly, I live sincerely and I live knowing that I will never be defined by what I have, but rather by who I am.

 

 

Much ado about the opposite of nothing

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reading

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I have been suspiciously absent from reading other blogs or anything else in the category of the written word because I have been alarmingly removed from anything resembling spare time.   I am on day 8 of a 10-day work stretch and logged in 25 hours of overtime this week.  (too bad I’m on salary!!)

I miss the carefree hours of being able to have enough brain capacity to read on a recurring basis.   This phenomenon happens frequently this time of year and I feel like I am missing an appendage when I cannot feed the creative appetite that yearns, incessantly, to be fed by words.

My attention span is non-existent.  My ability to concentrate is tenuous.   My capacity to hold a thought is…………………waning.

Next week is a quiet week at work, probably the last extensive time period that I will  have to fill my desire to absorb words as quickly as I am able before the onset of summer.   The list of books has been established.  The sequential collection of email notifications has been queued, the wine has been stored at the proper temperature and the spot on the couch has been reserved.

I hope to see you on the blog (and book) side.

 

 

 

 

I really did have a senior’s moment

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I was working on an itinerary for an upcoming bus tour this fall and flashed back to a bus tour we had last fall.

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Was I guilty of ageism?  Perhaps.  But when the senior’s euchre tournament bus tour arrived at the lodge on that fateful Sunday, I was genuinely dreading the three days that would follow.  I made an egregious error in judgement.

Admittedly, the tour had not begun well for the 42 participants but the fault was not ours.  A slight hiccup in their agenda had caused them to arrive an hour and a half early and we were thoroughly unprepared for the sudden onset of walkers, luggage and upset elders.  We did our best to scramble and be as accommodating as possible.   I made a witty speech welcoming them on behalf of the owners and staff and my words were met with sullen stares and moderate contempt.  It was a bumpy start.

Once we regained control, our momentum increased and we began to get everyone settled into their rooms. I had entered first and once Betty and Rose reached those three stairs Betty took the lead.  Once she was at the top, Rose began to follow.  Betty reached for the door frame and found nothing but a handful of air.  As I turned to look behind me, Betty, doing her best impression of a tree being felled in the forest, fell straight backwards and took Rose out, using her as a cushion for the fall.  The two ladies I had escorted to their room had just fallen and couldn’t get up.   Thankfully we got them into an upright and relatively stable position and, after many unqualified examinations, we deemed they were medically stable.

The group’s first dinner was an interesting event.  Still unsure of their surroundings, many uttered complaints that hung in the air like angry cartoon balloons.  There were threats of husbands being called to retrieve them the following morning and the night was punctuated by another woman being hit in the head by a heartily kicked-open kitchen door.  In the span of six hours, we had potentially concussed three women.

But then something changed.  Over the course of the following 60 hours, attitude and understanding rapidly evolved on both sides.  We understood the nature of their initial frustration and they understood the nature of our good will and hospitality.  By the end of their three night stay, I was calling them all by their first name and I was truly sad to see them climb the stairs to get back on the bus.  There were many hugs and talks of seeing them again next year.  I will admit that I was close to tears saying goodbye to these lovely souls.

Perhaps it was the sideways glances I got from Rose that reminded me so much of my mom.  Maybe it was that bond of parenthood I have been missing since my mom and dad passed.  Whatever the reason, I will be ready and willing to welcome that next bus tour with open arms and use this enlightening experience as a lesson for the future.

“Touricide” and a message to the transient population

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It has already begun.  The simple act of easily turning left onto any of our local roads is a shadowed memory of its former self.  They have descended upon us and the seemingly mundane tasks we used to perform with ease now require an expletive filter and a great deal of patience (or high blood pressure pills) (or both).

Almost two years ago, I wrote this post about the tourist season in our small town.  It was that post that sparked some interesting conversation about these wayward travelers and also got me Freshly Pressed.  To those of us on the WordPress blog site, being freshly pressed is a nice pat on the back.  We are recognized for writing something interesting that would encourage a discussion, and that it did on many levels.

I will preface the words that follow by reminding you I work in the hospitality and tourism industry.  My job is to serve people and I truly enjoy it.  Our lodge guests have slowly become like friends and family and it is a pleasure to go to work. But the cottage dwellers are a like a box of chocolates and as Forrest Gump so eloquently put it, “you never know what you’re gonna get”.   I realize that these summer vacationers are the bread to our butter, the wind beneath our small town wings, but, as each year rolls into the next, the level of courtesy and manners shown by some of these visitors leaves much to be desired.

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The act of “Touricide” has crossed my mind at many points throughout our busy seasons.  I’m sure if the facts of my potential case were presented to a jury of my peers the charges against me would be dropped and the crime would be ruled justifiable.  I don’t mind that our population explodes exponentially in the summer months.  I plan accordingly knowing my routine tasks will take much longer because the lines have quadrupled in length.  I leave my house much earlier to deal with the sudden onset of traffic in a town where six cars on the road in the spring is considered gridlock.

What I cannot tolerate is the arrogant attitude of so many of these visitors, thinking we live in this town only to serve them in the summer.  You have entered our home.  We have greeted you with courtesy and respect and all we ask is the same in return.  We will bend over backwards to meet your needs and we ask so little of you.  Smile.  Say thank you, and mean it.  Take a moment to appreciate that you are on vacation and relax.  Things may not get done at city speed, but they will get done and we will make sure they get done properly and that they meet or exceed your expectation.

I wish everyone celebrating the long weekend a safe and happy holiday.  Take the time to smile and say hello to a stranger.  Perhaps all they need is a little small town warmth to melt that cold city shell.

 

Peeling back the layers of the onion

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It is rare to find people who you can talk to about anything.  Words seem to just flow and nothing you say is awkward or judged.  There is no pause in the natural ebb of the conversation and there is no deflection to inane topics like the weather.   The connection exists on so many levels that no topic is off-limits.

Those people are hard to come by and each time you find yourself encapsulated in their presence, the synergy grows.  The things you anticipated would generate a look of surprise become predicted and that person peels back the skin of your onion, exposing another layer and getting closer to the core of your existence.  Sometimes that onion will cause some tears along the way but the true essence of its flavor will far outweigh the arbitrary drops of saline along the way.

onion

(image credit: flickr.com)

Words can be weapons but words can also be gateways into a meaningful relationship that is based on a true appreciation of what the other person represents in our lives.  Whether it is pre-destined chemistry or the slow development a true affection, the words uttered truly matter.  They are not said to fill a block of time.  They are communicated because of a shared interest in what is being said.  They are expressed in moments of affinity.

When conversation flows, it flows because of an unspoken bond.  It flows because two people feel a level of comfort that is achieved by honesty and a genuine interest in what the other person has to say.  It flows because they care about the words being said.  Minutes turn into moments and those moments linger through time.  Those moments repeat themselves and the conversation flows so freely that becomes etched in our memory and our lives are changed forever.

A wish saved for someone else

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Stars dapple the blackened sky of night.

I sit, chilled, pondering, not the expanse of the universe

but, the magical quality of those stars.

The silence of the night deafens me,

but the light from those stars has a musical quality,

tickling my senses as they twinkle.

Their ethereal incandescence is a gift.

The night is alive.

Constellations form as the night hurries to meet the morning.

Patterns shift as the world rotates on its axis.

I take in the wonder that is above me,

but I look away before it’s too late.

I want to share my sky,

hoping that a shooting star is seen

by someone who needs the wish more than I.

starry-night-alex-ruiz

(image credit: fineartamerica.com)

A place in the woods

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cabin

There is a place in the woods where my heart is free,

and my mind has been known to roam.

There are four walls and a roof that wait for me,

and long for me to call it my home.

The mass of buildings and lanes of traffic

are replaced with hills and trees.

The soothing sounds of Mother Nature’s lullaby

truly put my mind at ease.

I am homesick for a place I’ve never seen,

a place where my heart is replete,

a home where my soul is understood

 and a home where I feel genuinely complete.

The barren land beckons, the rolling earth lures,

I hear it calling my name.

I know when I finally find this haven

my life will never be the same.

I will shed the layers of the pretense I’ve lived

and genuinely feel at peace.

I will feel naked among the rocks and the trees,

and my life will have found a new lease.

There is a place in the woods where my heart is free,

and my mind has been known to roam.

I hope to one day discover this place,

and forever call it my home.

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