This weekend was set aside for some serious housecleaning of the head so I could haul it back in, bit by bit, and get it organized. There’s so much involved with going commando, also known as being a Free Agent, and working without a boss or a corporation setting the rules. There’s blogging, there’s the actual writing, there’s author’s platforms (I’d rather be adding platform shoes to my wardrobe!), there’s social networking, and there’s…Nuff of that. There’s too much junk in the head, and it needed to be cleared.
Solution? Why, nature, of course. Of course because there’s so much of it around here and not much else. I’m not complaining because there are more lessons to be learned from nature than all the books ever written, and there’s nothing like chilling in the quiet, effortless work of nature for putting th mind to rest. A mind at rest is the most productive, and that’s what mine needs because it’s exhausted from tripping over its own tangled neurons.
But I seem to have confused being one with nature and going after that sweet Mother like a bulldog. Having never known anything but the bulldog fury and pace of big city life, that’s the approach I took.
And today I’m paying for it. Big time.
Saturday was an early morning hustle as the dogs pulled me along Highway 162. They’re both small kids, but their combined power keeps me going at a trot, and that trot is over unpredictable terrain. Luckily, I was wearing my new hiking boots and had more grip under my feet as their wandering curiosity pulled me up and down trenches and jumping over the lingering “creeks” of last weeks unrelenting rains. They had to sniff everything, but not always the same thing, which often left me with one foot on a rock and the other in mushy soil, arms spread wide and shoulder muscles tensed keeping the bones seated in their joints. And then we were off again, and just in time for a random rush of traffic along the highway (that would be 3 cars every couple of minutes), and me doing the old pull-and-lock, pull-and-lock maneuver on their leads as I reeled them in close and out of harm’s way. A few times we had to make a wild run down a ditch because I’m paranoid of this lonesome road and don’t trust those driving it being in complete control of their vehicles. I have no problem with a herd of traffic in the city, but the unfamiliar is uncomfortable for me, and it’s going to take a long time before I’m comfortable with this country life that’s supposed to feed this writer’s soul. (It better feed it because they ain’t serving anything else around here.)
Once that was over (and I’d discovered my new boots aren’t waterproof), I hustled it to the nursery for seeds and soil and all the other happy hoo-ha of starting a garden. Lift and haul, lift and haul, then lift and haul it into the house and/or garage. Then on to the grocery store for shopping, which is a dangerous weekend endeavor whether you live in the country or the biggest megalopolis in the world. It takes muscle pushing those carts around and dodging other rabid shoppers. Once that was done, I got in a whole bunch more exercise pushing the cart through the parking lot in search of my car. One of these days I’ll get over the gratitude of finding a parking spot and get to the business of remembering where that was.
I got home sweaty, tired, and ready for a nap, but that wasn’t happening. No, I’d bought too much stuff and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening sorting, cooking, sowing seeds, and flapping my arms in a whirligig to fight off the bugs that are ever present here. We also mowed the lawn, which sprang up overnight into a field, and raked up the clippings. Well, at least most of them.
That was Saturday, the easy day.
Sunday, the blessed day of rest, is what’s kicking my butt this morning. Again it started with the morning drag by the dogs, but this time at Clear Creek Park and even more rugged terrain, then back home for what I thought would be a peaceful morning with the old man. We’ve been talking about grabbing some donuts at Shipley’s, then taking a very short drive up to the Alma River, which is always so peaceful because no boats or swimming is allowed–it’s our water supply. It’s gorgeous and has several covered picnic tables that are just perfect for munching donuts and letting the mind empty itself into the stillness of nature.
Unless you’re like me and suffer from an incurable disease called Wonder What’s Over There Disorder. It started with an innocent curiosity about the folfing course set up around the lake. Yes, I meant to type “folfing.” It’s sort of like golf, except it’s done with Frisbees and the objective is landing them in a catcher that’s above the ground (I really need to start keeping my camera with me at all times). There are even pars established for each “hole.” Well, I wondered what was over there, beyond the first catcher, and that lead to the top of the dam separating Alma Lake from Little Frog Bayou. What a gorgeous view, as well as an opportunity for working on getting my “goat footing,” which is a term I’ve come up with since our hike down to Devil’s Hollow and watching the sure-footedness (is that a word?) of those who have grown up around here. I don’t have it, which is why I took a lot of that hike on my butt. My husband doesn’t have it, which is why he (luckily) slammed into a tree as he flew down the rocky incline on his way to flying off a cliff. There’s a reason we have the term “tree hugger.”
Since neither of us have our goat footing yet, I figured our little hike along the folfing course at the lake would be a good opportunity to practice. It’s all about keeping your feet, hips, and back as loose a possible and flowing with the rocks and rubble and lichen and moss and mud and snakes and bugs. Unfortunately, I hadn’t planned on this, which is stupid because I suffer from Wonder What’s Over There Disorder and always end up in unexpected places, so I had on my old New Balance walking shoes that are so worn down they’re more like mini snowboards. But I was there, I had donuts to work off, as well as the challenge of getting as tough as the landscape where I now live and work. I also figure there’s nothing like nearly killing yourself for emptying the mind of worries about silly little things like words and writing.
It worked. I worked. I managed to stay as loose as a politicians morals, feel the ground under my feet, and let my body do what it naturally does for survival, when my city slicker head isn’t getting in the way. My thinking shut down, my muscles worked in new ways, and there was only one incident where visions of me planted in the loamy earth, head first, like an abandoned Chevy flashed through my head. Goat feet. Score one huge triumph on the road to that goal.
Injured muscles don’t always hurt immediately after they’ve been traumatized, and I was so high on the donuts, scenery, and my accomplishments in goat-footedness that we hopped into the car for another trip to the nursery, more lifting and hauling of spring gardening goodies, then another romp through the after-church crowd at the grocery store.
And home to finish up all the loose ends I’d created during my determination to take it easy with nature so my head would clear.
It felt so new and good that it did empty my head. I awoke this morning feeling like a different person, one that’s had the living daylights beat out of them and aching in hundreds of places that have been snoozing for decades during a butt-to-the-seat journey of reading and writing and intellectual head trips and DVD exercise.
I have no choice but to write this morning because I’m afraid to move and start the cascade of pain all over again. There’s no room in my head for worry about what I should do or how to do it or which social network I should travel first because I hurt big time. Nothing matters except maybe a piece of toast on my stomach first so I can start gobbling Tylenol.
But first I have to sit here and write until the initial shock of waking up and feeling the damage is over.
Well, whaddya know. I’ve finally figured out how to truly empty my head and just get on with the business of doing what I’d do naturally if I wasn’t over-thinking everything until my head was in a great big knot.
Turns out, what I’d do is sit and write a bit.