'scene' along the way, childhood, connections, family, finding my way, friends, healing, life goes on, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

Rivers and circles…

A favorite author of mine is William Least Heat Moon, and my favorite book of his is Blue Highways.  What struck me when reading this book was his descriptions of the land and scenery as he drove the blue highways on the map, purposely avoiding the major roadways to better appreciate the country and the people who populate it.  He was describing what he saw in his travels, but his descriptions showed me a connection to nature and the land that was so different from my experience.  Was it his Indian heritage that connected him in that special way?  I thought so.

I’m currently reading his River Horse, and have been for months.  It’s in Kindle so I can resurrect it whenever I feel like it, and I’ve forgotten about it for weeks on end.  In it he is attempting to cross the country by river, which, it turns out, is a much more complicated undertaking than I ever would have imagined.  But just now I came across a passage that really spoke to me.  He was quoting the famous Lakota holy man who says in Black Elk Speaks:

Everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round.  In the old days when we were a strong and happy people, all our power came to us from the sacred hoop of the nation, and so long as the hoop was unbroken, the people flourished.  The flowering tree was the living center of the hoop, and the circle of the four quarters nourished it.  The east gave us peace and light, the south gave warmth, the west gave rain, and north with its cold and mighty wind gave strength and endurance.

I’m certainly not an Indian, and not a deep thinker, but those words struck me because I saw my own journey into the past as a completion of a circle.  And I don’t think that having made the connections that I made on my trip has closed that circle in any way.  The heart-warming whole that it created is still with me…

10-10anclotepier110-10anclotepier210-10anclotepier310-10anclotepierfeature

 

'scene' along the way, a second look, Camping, childhood, connections, coping, courage, finding my way, friends, leap of faith, memories, perseverance, photography, road trip

Thinking it over…

IMG_1545I have a lot of time to think these days.  Here in the camper with the sounds of the birds outside, even at 4 AM.  And something, pine cones maybe, falling on the roof with a surprising thunk.  And my coffee, brewed outside on the little shelf which has a convenient plug right next to it.  Features of this pop up that I’m just now noticing.

I’m thinking about how homesick I got last year.  How much I longed to be back home.  I wanted to see the familiar places where I had expected to live my life back then.  And I wanted to ‘find myself’ again.  I thought back to the little kid that I think I was, confident and sure of herself, and wondered how I lost her when I let myself fear that I wasn’t good enough as I was.  A familiar theme for all of us I suspect, as we grow older and judge ourselves through the prism of those junior high and high school insecurities.  Everyone else had all the answers, I thought.  Little did I know then that I wasn’t alone.

I thought though, that the homesickness was a longing for the lost places of my youth.  But what I have discovered, now that I’ve turned my life upside-down and become a snowbird, traveling the roads that I longed to travel, is an amazing appreciation for the people I left behind.  Just because I decided that at this moment in time I was yearning for something doesn’t mean that it was the perfect timing for me to turn up on everyone’s doorstep.  And yet here I am, and I’ve been embraced at every turn.  They were as busy living their lives as I was living mine I guess, so maybe they didn’t miss me, but we are all older now and reconnecting to the past seems to be a welcome thing to do.  And maybe I did have a touch of the spunk I thought I’d lost.  After all, I did take off for parts unknown way back then.  I haven’t considered that it took a certain amount of spunk to do that.  Or naivety.  And, all things considered, I really wouldn’t change anything about my life.  It’s just this amazing feeling of coming full circle that I truly love.  I’m so blessed in all ways to be enjoying this adventure.  I wonder where it’s heading…fourthparkway.jpg

childhood, family, grandchildren, kids, life goes on, moments, perseverance, photography, simple things, sunrise, the big picture

Ready or not…

Time marches on in spite of me.  Sometimes I just need to process things.  I want to stop and think, catch up mentally when things seem to be moving impossibly fast.  I first remember feeling this way when my kids were really little.  They grew and changed so quickly, and I remember thinking that I wanted to put them in deep freeze for a second, just to catch up.  When they first started making announcements that you knew weren’t just a repetition of what you had said to them, but were an original thought of their own.  They became people, right before your eyes.

I have two sets of grandkids, the ‘big kids’ and the ‘little kids’, with a very large gap between.  As the two oldest grew up I was just as astounded as when my own kids did the same, but I told myself at least I still have the little kids.  Now the little kids aren’t little anymore, and the oldest one graduated from high school the other night.  I have an amazing set of grandkids, as I know we all do.  They are my greatest blessing, that and the fact that my kids are the people who raised these amazing kids.  But I’m scratching my head over the whole thing.  And the bug bites, but mostly I’m scratching in amazement because I tend to get lost in my own thoughts now and then, but then I resurface and come face to face with life’s milestones, ready or not…grad12

'scene' along the way, adventure, childhood, friends, memories, moments, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip, travel

Campello kids…

The connections I’ve been making, both with family and also with friends, have mostly been with the kids from the south side of my hometown.  ‘Campello kids’.  Kids I may have gone all through school with, but in my mind when I have thought of them I remember them best as the Jr. high school kids we once were.  I connected with another one of them yesterday.  I was already close to her VT home, at least as the crow flies.  GPS showed three routes to her house from the NH campground.  One route seemed ridiculously out of the way but would keep you on highways the whole time.  I ruled that one out right away.  The other two were on a diagonal, point A to point B pretty much in a direct line.  I ignored the ominous warning box at the top of the screen.  It announced that the directions might possibly include unpaved roads!  Which one?, thought I.  That it might be both of those routes didn’t occur to me.  So yes, despite my trepidations I did turn onto Bobbin Shop Road, and it wound this way and that, and up and down.  And it eventually turned into an unpaved road.  But it got me there, and the scenery was worth it.  And the visit?  It was perfect!  Not rushed, a quiet afternoon talking and letting our minds wander together.  Was it enough time?  No, but there were a lot of years gone by to talk about…

I started out early, with fog hanging in the air and no sun out.  But as I drove the sun came out and the day became so pretty that I hoped I’d stop again as I retraced my route home, but I didn’t.  And I did manage to stay on paved roads this time…offtoJoan's4boatsOfftoJoan's2boatsofftoJoan's2_1greenboatOfftoJoan's1offtoJoan's5offtoJoan's6

blessings, childhood, connections, coping, courage, faith, family, friends, healing, honor, memories, moments, perseverance, photography, road trip, strangers become friends

Lisa…

I only met her once.  She had long ago married into the family that I loved in my childhood, and had recently fallen in love with again despite the 60+ year absence.  On Sunday I attended her memorial, her celebration of life.  And with four generations of family present it truly was a celebration.  Hearing everyone from her granddaughter to her sister speak of her love of reading and love of family, I saw that I would have enjoyed knowing her. But she was gone too soon.  She was a special part of this special family, and I saw that she will be missed.  And remembered.  It was a privilege to have been included in this day.

This celebration was held at her brother’s house, and when I arrived I was concentrating on seeing/meeting this large group of people that I had never met.  It was after I’d been there a few minutes that I began to notice the house itself. The low plaster and beamed ceiling as you walk in, and the seven (I think) fireplaces, one in every room. Turns out it was built in 1724, and as much of the original as possible is still present.  When necessary improvements had to be made, such as in the kitchen with it’s loft overlook, the original wood that had been taken out was used to build any new cabinets, etc.  It’s completely obvious that this house has been loved.  And it may not be an exaggeration to say that George Washington slept there.  His 2nd in command married the daughter of the home owner back in those old days, so it’s entirely possible.  Though someone mentioned that considering all the area houses making the claim that George Washington slept there it would seem George may have slept around a bit.  As we left we were talking about what a nice memorial it had been, which may be why I forgot to take the outside shots I had intended to take.

beams

cornercupboardcornerwithphotosfireplacefireplace2fireplace3kitchen wallkitchen wall2kitchenislandkitchenwall2loftviewsoapstonesinkspinningwheelstaircasetwowindowswelcome

 

a second look, childhood, finding my way, growing old, life, life goes on, memories, perseverance, photography, progress, simple things

The finish line…

I prefer to think that my obsession with downsizing, purging, and getting rid of all the ‘stuff’ in my life that was weighing me down, originated with me.  Or, more correctly, with Charley.  That I started feeling as if I needed to liberate myself from my ‘stuff’ came long before the tiny house movement.  Even though we had sold the house we lived in for 35 years and had to pare things down to make that move, Charley still had tons of stuff he left behind when he died.  And even though I remembered how he surprised me back then by going through his things and tossing/giving away all sorts of things without any agonizing whatsoever, I did agonize over his things.  All his things were treasures, they were worth something, collectibles, as he was fond of reminding me.  I could be tossing away something of value.  My own stuff was junk, admittedly, so it was the physical act of going through boxes that had been sitting on shelves in the garage for years that would get the best of me.  I would tell myself that I ought to just throw those boxes away, don’t even open them I’d think, but I couldn’t seem to do that, and I’d keep on procrastinating.  But now I have finally done it, I’m pretty much at the finish line, spurred on because I wanted to save my kids the torture of going through all my stuff and sorting and tossing it away.  They’ll probably have to do some of that one day but they can rest assured that it is, in fact, junk, so toss away!

So what has made the cut?  What have I managed to keep with me through moves from MA, to IN, to CA, to MD, and, finally, to this little place in FL?  Besides the sewing machines, cameras, computers, and iPhones we have these gems.  Treasures from my childhood, and items that caught my eye over the years.  As I acquired them, the little stained glass candle holder bought in Beanblossom, Indiana for example, could I have ever imagined that it would stay with me, across country in both directions, and be with me here in what I expect is my last home?  Which in reality is my first ever apartment, so to speak.  The first place I’ve ever made for myself alone.  But furnished with the items that I have held close to my heart, that have pleased me, comforted me, delighted me, and carried me from childhood to, ahem, maturity…