I had to stop and think: How long has it been since I walked away from my “to do” list and all the “haftas”? How many weeks? Months? Ah… since December. Kauai with Dick. One of Dick’s best qualities is that he takes me to lovely places where we don’t have to do anything we don’t need or want to do. There we recharge the depleted batteries. We sleep a lot. As my friend Pat Schneider says about going on a writing retreat, you should spend much of the first three days just SLEEPING. We all need more sleep, more rest, more down time.
Which is why I am thanking my dear Dick Schmidt for taking me again to the north coast of California, specifically to The Sea Ranch at the top of the Sonoma County Coast for five days of R&R. How much R&R? This is me after lots of sleep and reading whatever I wanted to read and long, brisk walks and good food (lots of fresh fish and clam chowder!):
When Dick showed me this photo, I thought, “Oh, THAT’s what I look like when I’m not stressed, when I’m done teaching, when summer begins.” I seem to forget this. And this year has brought some big changes and challenges for both Dick and me, from the loss of a dear loved one for him to a super-busy academic year that included my last semester (for a while) advising the student newspaper at my college. How to wrap the mind around what’s coming at us whether we like it or not?
I have a Life Is Good T-shirt that has an anchor on it and says, “Go and sea.” This is a good reminder for me to go to the places within and without that restoreth the soul, to take time to power down and spend time with someone I love and who loves me. And who feeds me really well, too. (Did I mention three kinds of clam chowder, just to test them all?)
The harbor seals on the north coast really understand how to rest. They haul out on warm rocks for many hours a day, especially the mothers with babies, and they just sleep. It helps when the weather is lovely—not-too-hot, not-too-cold kind of lovely. Just the right amount of breeze, as it was when we were there.
Look at this view. Breathe it in, as I got to do for five days. Is that peaceful or what?
Time to stretch, to unwind. Yes. I know how lucky I am to be able to do this. To go and sea. Yes. I am beyond grateful. Yes.
It is on this rugged coastline under bright skies that my molecules settle again after being scattered like salty mist. Where the peace of the sea returns myself to me. Where I am reminded of what is possible out there and in here.
It doesn’t have to take a major change of scenery to do this. I find that I can recharge with a walk in a lovely park or spending time with someone very dear. Changing my surroundings, even for the length of a walk or a few hours with a friend, changes my attitude.
This summer I wish for you some serious soul-restoring time, to dive into possibility, to grant yourself the space to go and sea.