We had a great time out wakeboarding and surfing today and I posted a few pictures from the adventure on Facebook. The kids look great of course, but one of the adults didn’t like the pictures so I quickly took them down. Looking at them, she looks great; she’s clearly skilled and she’s having a lot of fun. So it is kind of too bad because somewhere inside she’s being hard on herself for something that the rest of the world wouldn’t perceive. Then again, the pictures of me make me look, well, fatter, than I perceive myself. If only all of us could just relax and have fun the word would be a happier place.
(I chose to post the picture of feet because it was kind of cool in an anonymous way)
You just never know when something really special will come along. I’d had a rather unsettled day, after a lot of heat, it was a chilly breezy day. So I was feeling scattered and unmotivated. I finally got up the gumption to go geocaching and called up a neighbour to come along. This doe and fawn were in their yard when I arrived to pick them up. Fortunately I often carry my DSLR with me wherever I go, just in case. I managed to shut off the car, roll down the window, keep the dog quiet (a miracle in itself) and change the macro lens off for the telephoto without scaring the deer away. And then, just as I was getting to a point where I could see them clearly through the window, this pose happened. Great light, great alignment, and a beautiful picture of a really special moment. And the take home message is that as long as you are open to it, you never know when something amazingly magical will cross your path. You just have to keep an eye open for it.
As a sailor, I’ve always loved that adage that says, “You can’t change the wind, but you can adjust the sails”. It is a great reminder to be let go of things you can’t control. I went out today to begin teaching one of our teens how to sail – it looked like a nice day. We got the Laser mostly set up and then the wind came up and dumped me into the lake while I was putting the boom on. We had a good laugh about that. We decided to leave the boat at the dock to see if the wind would pass but when we came out shortly afterwards, the wind had ripped a sizeable hole in the sail, losing one of the battens¹ to the lake in the process. That was it for sailing today. But I thought it provided a good addendum to the saying; Sometimes the wind will throw you around so much all you can do is pick the bits up off the bottom of the lake, learn to sew, and hang tight for a more pleasant day.
- The batten is a flat stick that is placed horizontally in a pocket in the sail to give it some rigidity and, thus, better performance. You can kind of see in the picture that the rip ran along the batten pocket which allowed it to fall in to the water.
I had an interesting conversation with a friend today who noticed I’m reading Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin. She felt that it was a “school book”; something you might read because you had to read it as a school assignment. It grieves me that we’ve come to this place where writing as lavish and powerful as Atwood’s has been relegated to the domain of high school students, grudgingly grinding through pages of prose that they haven’t enough experience to truly appreciate. It is sad, because I don’t think anything quite compares to reading for exercising the mind, challenging assumptions, and exploring new ideas. I hope some kids are still reading for pleasure and I hope some will come to discover the wonder of these works over time.
I went out for a really long stand-up paddle board ride today and spent almost two and a half hours paddling around the lake. For about fifteen minutes I was in the company of a pair of loons. They were busy hunting but weren’t too distressed about me being within three meters or so of them. It was a pretty sweet moment in time – just me, the water, and a couple of really special birds. I’m pretty lucky to have those moments. But it seems rather odd, crazy even, that I save them all up for the brief time on vacation. This is the path to finding balance; I don’t need to take a five mile paddle, but how do I create fifteen minutes of tranquility a couple times a day, every day?
(The picture is not of today’s loons. I took it another time from the safety of a canoe. I fell off the SUP board three times today, I’m not loony enough to take my camera with me)
We went out and did a bit of geocaching yesterday. We were reasonably successful, having found five, but the last one totally stumped us. It was in an area thick with junipers and wading through them or touching them to look underneath a nearby rock was prickly. The youngest member of our party complained but was a real trooper and kept looking. We had to finally call it quits as the day was getting long and we were getting frustrated but it was a beautiful spot (most of our caching being in the country-side) and a pleasant hike and we may try again. It is a good lesson to take when we remember our successes, recognize that the thorny bits sometimes set us back, and that even if we don’t hit our goal, we can have fun trying.
A feature of the Enneagram 9 personality type is a certain slothfulness in terms of self-care and self-development. I’ve been trying to do better; meditation, yoga, journaling, to-do lists, and so on. Last night, I stepped out of my normal insular routine to go hang out with some neighbours. And in the midst of all the snacks and wine and guitars and songs, I realized that this, too, is a form of self-development. It has been a load of fun getting to know these folks better and just spending some time in a room full of people just doing their best to be happy for a little while is, in fact, a form of self-care. That in itself is an interesting proposition – to go to a party with the conscious intent of taking care of oneself mentally and spiritually.
I discovered a bees’ nest in the woodpile today. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen one before, not up close anyway. Being very familiar with wasp nests I heard the buzz and was expecting to have to get out the chemical arsenal and get rid of them. There was no cloud of angry insects though, and while I stood there puzzling these two bees came out to check out what was going on. I’ve since seen a bunch go in and out and they don’t seem to be upset that I’m there. I’ve left them in peace and left the wood there; I can find more. I have no quarrel with the bees nor they with me. It is a good lesson in going gently and thinking before acting.
It always amazes me the number of things I don’t know about. I went with my partner today to get her some new, proper, boots for horsemanship. She’s an old hand at horses although circumstances forced her into a thirty year hiatus. Walking into the store the first thing you notice is the wonderful smell of leather; rich, natural, and laced with history. The second thing that struck me was that there is a lot of stuff in there that I know nothing about; buckles, clips, ropes too stiff to bend, and singularly uncomfortable hats with boxes to carry them in. I’m feeling rather fortunate to have this little window opened up into a world I have no experience in.
Being Poly introduces some odd emotional entanglements. Our household is unconventional; consisting of myself, my partner, her husband, their two kids, and, until recently, my two kids. The last of mine moved out just a couple of weeks ago. And I’m feeling quite a range of emotions. I love their kids and we all get a long great but it just isn’t… the same. I feel less purposeful, rather melancholic, and this feeling is somewhat amplified watching them relate to their kids on a daily basis. I feel a bit more like a third-wheel. I know the feeling will pass eventually, especially if I give it room to just be what it is. Meanwhile, I’m going to do my best to engage with my now-further-away kids. And maybe I can teach theirs how to sail on my vacation this year.