It has been a busy few days. I am always having a “busy few days” it seems. Heck, I thought I left the rate-race for a causal lifestyle. But I attack “casual” with a vengeance, it seems.
When I got home from my residency, I spent two days preparing my daughter, Neva, for ten days at sleep away Girl Scout Horseback riding camp. This is a big thing for us. For one thing, she has never gone to camp. She has never gone anywhere that wasn’t dance oriented, so her being able to follow her own interest has special poignancy. I worried about her being away so long, sleeping in a cabin/tent and all, but she has written home and it seems, other than the fact that she had to clean the bathrooms and almost got caught sneaking around the campsite one night with her best friend, she is having a ball. The camp posts pictures on their website every night, so I get glimpses of her on horseback, on kayaks, swimming, playing games etc…. She is always cutting up, smiling, all suntanned and hanging on her best friend de jour. Makes me feel mighty happy that we are in a position to provide this experience for her.
The day after we dropped her off, we picked up my son from a ten-day visit in Sarasota. They’ve each gotten the summer experience of their choice. I’m still waiting for mine. Better not hold my breath.
Last weekend, Mark and I took a class at the Campbell Folk school. This was his fourth class. My sixth. We had signed up for “Nature’s Baskets”. This class teaches you to make baskets out of natural fibers found in the woods. We began with three wildly shaped laurel sticks. We are taught to bind them together with rattan and then we attach ribs (wood died brown using black walnuts and boiled water) which create the base so we can weave all kinds of things into the basket. I stuck with only natural items from the forest. Many people added yarn and such – but I wanted something more rustic sans manmade material. I think the end result was great – and it was fun to make something from nothing, so to speak. I wove cornhusks, huge flower leaves and dried palm fluorescents into my basket. Neat.
I wasn’t much in the mood to take the class really. We signed up 5 months ago, but once the weekend presented itself, I had too much to do to be thinking of leisurely making a basket. I wanted to work on my book and spend time with my son who had been gone for ten days. But, knowing the class meant a lot to my husband, I decided to go despite alternative desires. In the end, it went by fast. Only a weekend thing. So I’m glad I kept quiet and went. Now, when I take walks, I can gather things and whip up a fun basket later. Not that I will, but I CAN. I keep telling Mark that he should start taking me on cruises to exotic places because then, we might have the occasion to get stranded on a desert island. In which case, he would really be able to appreciate this wife of his. I am unintentionally learning some pretty significant survival skills.
We had to miss the last few hours of our basketry class to go to the airport Sunday because we were flying into Sarasota for two days. (Tired sigh) We had some important business meetings to attend – something we were not looking forward to at all. It was nice to see my parents, but the work element was stressful. But one nice outcome is that going back for a short, abrupt trip gives us an opportunity to make direct comparisons between our old world and our new one. The fact is, Sarasota feels crowded and commercial to us– rather ugly- by comparison to Blue Ridge where there is no traffic or over-stressed people, and where nature abounds at every turn. We drove by our old house and marveled at how dismal the neighborhood looked with all the cars parked outside and houses on top of each other. Our house was lovely, but the location makes the overall effect less appealing now. Coming home to our cabin was like stepping outside from the stale, cramped quarters of a too small apartment or something. We also toured our old business, and rather than feel nostalgic, all we could see was the massive work that had to be done, and we couldn’t help but recall the stress that accompanied that work. We were mighty glad to know it is someone else’s work and stress now. They say, “You can never go back”. That’s true. But it isn’t a problem if you never want to go back.
All in all, we came home with a deep appreciation for the choices we have made. Regardless of the risks, or the trouble, or the doubts and headaches, the fights or inconveniences – we would do it all again.
I often think about how happy I was in New York. I was young and the bustle of the cosmopolitan life had such appeal. But when I go to the city now, it’s depressing, as if too much humanity has been trapped in too small a place, and everyone is agitated and surly because of it. It affects me differently, due to my current worldview. This is not to say one place is better than another – only that one place is better than another for me at a particular time in my life. I think Sarasota was a marvelous place for me for many years, but I matured or evolved or whatever you want to call it, and now I need nature and solitude and simplicity. These things feed me what I need so I can accomplish what I need to accomplish now. I can’t define what I need to accomplish now, at least not in words, but it is a feeling. Somehow, I know I am where I am supposed to be. It isn’t perfect. It isn’t even always satisfying. But it feels right.
So – I am home at last. We’ve attended to the necessary business of living – grueling as it is on occasion. I have a few days to focus intently on my homework now before my daughter gets home from camp. I’m filled with a new sense of urgency and drive regarding my current literary project. I guess I’ve been hit with a rush of confidence and I want to ride that wave while I can. I will immerse myself in writing for the next few days while it feels as if I can (and soon will) conquer the world.
My husband began real estate school tonight. He drives 1 ½ hours, three days a week, to attend a class – he will continue to do so for the next six weeks. He doesn’t know exactly where this endeavor will take him, but it will allow him to list our properties to sell them himself in Sept. ( a good financial move) and then . . . who knows. I admire that he is moving forward into something new – open to new possibilities without preconceived notions or expectations – and let’s be honest – I’m looking forward to the nights alone to get some homework done without guilt. It will be hard work for him, but nevertheless I sense an interesting turn coming up on our life path. . .
I must go. I keep talking about all the work I have to do, yet all I seem able to force out of myself is a bit of blogging. All talk and no action makes Ginny a dull girl. Can’t have that.
P.S. Mark has the camera tonight, so I can’t attach a picture of my basket to this entry – but I will tomorrow. Gotta show off the few things I do actually accomplish. Gotta keep up pretenses that I’m productive, ya know.