It feels like my winter retreat is coming to an end. As spring approaches and daffodils emerge, I know it’s time to get busy outdoors, leaving me little time for inner musings at the computer.
I live a more basic life, by choice. But it is not an easy life. I reside in a forest dwelling surrounded by nature; trees, animals, river and weather. My schedule follows the cues of nature, her rhythm, seasons, challenges. My responsibilities include providing wood for heat, maintaining the stream fed water system, growing, harvesting, and storing a food garden, designing and shaping the ornamental garden, being a Master Gardener for my county extension office, mowing the lawn, repairing fences, caring for my animals while keeping the wild ones at a distance, making home repairs and maintaining the other buildings (greenhouse, barn, warehouse, yurt, rental), stewarding the forest and river to return to their more natural states, cooperating with government agencies on forest and stream enhancement projects, rocking the driveway, managing the rental next door, protecting the property from hunters and other intruders, the list goes on …
Earth Heaven garden
So, folks may romanticize the country life, but it is a lot of work. As the focus moves to the outdoors in spring, the indoor activities wane, such as writing this weblog, doing research for lectures and writing projects, communicating with friends. Nature becomes my primary companion and I desire to isolate even more from the outer world, much like new lovers who are locked in an embrace. I have to remember to eat and take care of outer world responsibilities. Don’t get me wrong…I also enjoy my outside friendships, students, clients. It just becomes more difficult to tear myself away from my love affair with nature, but once parted, I totally enjoy and can be present for wherever I may be next.
My dear friend Gabrielle, who is an amazing West African dance and drum teacher, reflects to me my presence, or lack of availability, as a friend. She tells me how surprised she is when I am totally free to just hang out and visit (a very rare occurrence), or when I am not being a good friend, those times when I am absorbed in my own world and don’t reach out. I have come to terms with both sides of my social life, the one who is available and the one who is not. As you may begin to see, writing this weblog is an exercise in being more available, yet I can bring my resistance with me too. Ha Ha!