“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
Stream of counscousness about the past few weeks:
Recently I spent 9 days in North Bend, Oregon, with Wallace and Lillian, and their parents. I helped with hand work at the children’s Waldorf school. A 3rd grader, hand out, introduced himself and said, “I don’t think we’ve met.” I shook hands and replied, “I’m Lillian’s grandmother.” He announced, “She’s Lillian’s grandmother,” then looked right at me and said, “And, you are very old!”
In his book What are Old People For, William H. Thomas, M.D writes about the value of grandparents living within the family circle; I can tell you there are always lots of laughs. He also writes that as we grow into senescence, preparing for old age, we begin to ask “what do i want to do?”
My 10 year old grandson lost his temper and slammed a door causing a picture frame to fall off a nearby wall. After a bit of cooling off time for him I lured Wallace into helping me repair the frame. While we worked I told him a family story about his great grandfather. Angry at my brother, Dad smacked his fist into a kitchen cupboard door. At the emergency room, while treating Dad’s broken knuckles, the Eastern Indian doctor asked Dad what happened. When he heard the story he only shook his head and responded, “not smart.” As I’d hoped, the story brought a wee smile from Wallace.
I returned to Bellingham from Oregon on the train with a large suitcase, a large purse jammed with books and other odds and ends, my computer case and two jackets. I missed taking an unexpected trip to Vancouver BC by seconds because the suitcase was at the end of the car not opened for departing passengers and the purse and jackets were on the rack over my head. I couldn’t retrieve everything in one fell swoop. The conductor, almost pushing me off as the train departed for Canada teased, “next time don’t pack all your gold – that’s what banks are for.”
Back at Matt and Fiona’s my 2 grandchildren had moved from a shared bedroom into their own bedrooms. Five year-old Zeb gleefully announced that I’d be sleeping with him in his double bed. After night 3 he suggested that I should pay him one dollar rent for each night we shared his bed. Good thing I only had one more night.
During our weekly phone talk about living in community, I told Donna about the lively and unusually deep conversation I had with my seat mate on the train. I said as much as I love being with my grandchildren this helped me choose to continue my pilgrimage. As Donna and I talked we identified the question I’m carrying out into the world with me. Where, and how do I thrive?
I really dislike living out of a suitcase. I bought a small carry-on suitcase as I prepared for travel across the Midwest to the East coast. Remember the game I’m going to Grandmother’s house and I’m taking…? At the suggestion of my daughter I bought a wrap dress and a pair of crushable yoga pants. The dress never arrived and because it’s hot in the Midwest I only packed tee shirts, a sweater, short pants, undies and sandles. My suitcase is heavy. My laptop and “put everything into it” purse are bulky. I still need to pare down.
Speaking of paring down, while I was in Oregon Kay invited me to go the gym with her. I felt wonderful after working out, so she asked her personal trainer friends to help me think about how I can exercise while traveling. One friend wrote a plan and walked me through a routine with exercise bands and a piyo routine – a combination of yoga and Pilates to keep my wonky hip flexible. Tomorrow I begin!
The following post by my friend Suzanne Grenager was on facebook this week. http://suzannegrenager.com/new-guest-post-want-inspiration-go-to-bed/.
As a person who is often short on sleep and forgets to breathe I highly recommend the essay. Suzanne, is the author of Bare Naked at the Reality Dance, a terrific book demonstrating the courage of self revelation at its best!
Last week I watched the following Ted talk by Andrew Evans, about his travel for 10 days on 10 buses from Washington D C to Antarctica. http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/TEDxDanubia-2011-Andrew-Evans-O. The focus is on how we tend to be consumers of travel instead of travelers soaking up our experiences along the way. He suggests don’t be tourists; plan less, go slowly, breathe more.
Tonight I’m in Madison, Wisconsin with dear old friends. They picked me up in St. Paul, Minnesota where we spent a wonderful day with their daughter and her young children. It provided a loving transition from moving out of my daily granni role into a sole (soul)explorer-friend role.
This week my friend and I are beginning with only a few plans, happy to be in each others’ presence. Breathing in and out.
Marian Methner, mixed media on wood