Thursday, July 05, 2007
Hollow of Tranquility
This is were we spent the afternoon July 3rd. It's some property my dad owns down in the real middle of nowhere -- it makes my little rural hometown seem like the big city. Years ago it was the site of a gristmill, which was dismantled and given to some historical society about 15 years ago. My dad bought the property after a friend of his went through a divorce and was liquidating some assets. It's a fantastic piece of property, and right now my sister has an Airstream trailer parked as a summer home for her and her daughters.
Our house was being treated for bugs (long story) and we needed to get us humans and dogs out of the house for a bit while the poisons settled in and killed the pesties. For those of you concerned about it, the bug guy told us the main ingredient in their insecticide is the same thing we put on our dogs to get rid of fleas and ticks, so I don't think we're going to wake up six months from now with a third eyeball.
At first I didn't really want to go; I had a headache and found myself dealing with some burbling anxiety. But I definitely didn't want to stay at the house, and I had nowhere else I wanted to go, so I took some ibuprofen, grabbed my book, some bug spray, drinks, snacks and towels for us, and we all climbed in the SUV and headed down over the mountain (yes, that's what we say when we go there -- and it is a big mountain we have to drive down to get there, White Horse Mountain).
I remember on the ride down my headache was still pestering me, as well as this anxiety, and I told myself "You're just going to have to sit with these emotions. If you have to cry, go walk off in the woods and do it. But you're not going to binge." Especially since I didn't bring enough food (or anything that would trigger me) for anything of the sort to happen!
But once I got there, all that anxiety vanished. It was so pretty there, the sound of the creek was so relaxing, and it was great to watch our doggies enjoy their first real experience in running water. At first they were hesitant about getting in, but boy, once they did, you could hardly get them out! This is Pearl, taking a short break and looking over the stone wall at Daddy and brother Bruno as they continue to venture in the stream. Sister Mabel was also having fun: Daddy held a foot-long water snake for her to touch; she was catching (and releasing) all sizes of crayfish and trying to catch minnows; and later when some other kids showed up she found a salamander and played with him until his tail fell off. Daddy assured us this happens often and his tail will grow back.
The water in the creek is pretty low right now, and as you could see in the first photo there are a lot of big rocks exposed in the creek bed. After walking around a bit I pointed at one rock and said, "That rock has been carved out especially for my butt, so I'm sittin' there!" It was perfect; it even had a smaller rock in front of it that made the ideal foot rest. It was just far enough away from the action that I wasn't getting soaked by the puppies' water wrestling matches, but close enough that I could talk to my fellow humans easily.
When everyone moved downstream a bit I was able to really relish the moment, the "Now," so to speak, and it was so easy in the middle of all that nature. Everything was so green and alive, the water was so clear (where the dogs hadn't muddied it up) and you could see all the little fish swimming around. There was no past, no future, just the rustling of the leaves and the endless flow of water. Timeless. It was impossible to be anything but conscious in that moment.
When the rock finally started to get a little too hard for my rear end, I moved up to dry land and nestled into the Adirondack chair that overlooked the stream (that's where I was when I took the picture of Pearl). Again, still close enough that I could be involved if I wanted to. Eventually my sister, my nieces, some friends and their dogs showed up and they all headed down the stream to the deeper swimming hole to splash and frolic. But I wanted to read more of "The Power of Now," and I managed to get into some more really intriguing sections. Never fear, I took notes and will be sharing them with you soon.
Don't worry, for those of you who are worried about me being antisocial; after a while I went down and joined everyone at the swimming hole. But I definitely relished the time I could get on my own, and I told Hubby on the ride home this definitely has to happen more often. Not only for the puppies, who had so much fun and really need that kind of workout to keep them in shape, but for us humans, too.
In my journeys through losing weight and tackling my food and emotional issues, "they" are always telling us to find non-food ways to relieve stress and to distract ourselves from food. This has always been hard for me, but that day I felt like I had finally found one that really worked. It takes a 15-minute car ride, but it was definitely worth it. I think you'll find me down here in my Hollow of Tranquility a lot more this summer.
(This photo was taken June 24 by Mabel at our family reunion. I really liked this picture of me because it wasn't staged, and I look really natural and relaxed. Now if I can figure out how to make it my new profile photo...)