I realize this seems a bit…hmm, strange…but when I was a child I liked to weed. Actually, I relished it. The same was true for deadheading my grandmother’s azalea bushes. Sure, the 25 cents an hour she paid me to do it was nice, but that wasn’t my sole motivation.
I treasured the rhythmic motion of it all…pull one, put it in the bucket, pick one, put it in the bucket…and on and on. No real thought needed. No distractions. Just fresh air and the opportunity to let my thoughts bounce around wherever they pleased.
I was immediately rewarded with proof of my progress. By the time I finished, my thoughts had settled down into their proper corners and the plot of land or shrub I was working on had been tidied up. I stood back, admired my handiwork, and let out a deep breath.
Nowadays, cooking holds that place for me…the cutting, the chopping, the stirring. The opportunity to let my mind wander and eventually quiet. Proof of my handiwork in the form of a meal for my kiddos, their friends, the Rooster, all of us.
But, there are times when no amount of chopping, stirring, picking, and pulling can settle my thoughts. They stay up there buzzing around like static electricity.
This happens to me during summer “vacation.”
Part of the issue is that my children are out of school which translates into more noise and more chaos in my house than usual.
The other part of it is our society, which is high on internet crack, and the constant drive to always be busy, always be productive, always be communicating, always be doing something…except what we all need most…recharging. Giving ourselves permission to do something mindless, and letting our thoughts have a chance to quiet down so we can actually hear them.
Because Plan A, isn’t feasible – a month in a hammock, reading books, on some warm tropical island, with my food and drinks brought to me on a tray, a full body massage every day at 4pm, and no one to care for but myself – I settled on Plan B to quell the buzzing in my brain.
I dubbed my back deck, “my summer office” and everyday at 5pm you will find me lounging in a chair, reading a book, sipping some wine, snacking on a little bowl of Pistachios, or a bowl of berries, or maybe some flat bread topped with goat cheese and arugula. And there I sit and allow myself the chance to just “be.” To let my thoughts take me wherever they please. There’s a bit of reverse psychology at play here. By calling it “my office”, I create the illusion that I’m actually working which helps a Type A person like myself be able to justify the downtime. “Dishes in the sink, Legos all over the house, and license plate tabs that need to be renewed, be damned!”
Also, as part of Plan B, I’m not checking into social media much this month. I’m not answering any email except those messages that demand an immediate response, and I’m not committing to any plans until 24 hours before the possible commitment. I’m not sure how I will be feeling until I get to that day. I may just want to keep dozing in my office.
If you’ve called me or emailed me, texted me or pinged me on social media lately and you’ve found me generally unresponsive, know this…it’s not you, it’s me. I’m working hard at getting the static electricity out of my brain before school starts up again.
And you know, there is a calm, rhythmic motion to picking up the wine glass, taking a sip, putting it back down.
Pick up a nut, crack it open, pop it in my mouth. Open the book, read a few lines, close my eyes, doze off.
And my whole family has been getting into it. I’ve dragged out tables, twinkly lights, and old umbrellas from the depths of our attic. My little guy recently dragged a chair down from his room. The Rooster is fantasizing about an entire outdoor couch/sectional thing. The teenager would like to add a hot tub and my middle guy…a flat screen TV. (Not going to happen.)
If you happen to be in the neighborhood around 5 0’clock and are curious to how effective this process is, please, pop on by and try it out for yourself. My sister was recently back in town for the second weekend in a row, just to sit in the “office.” And to be completely honest, I now find myself out there for breakfast and lunch as well. (Perks of working from home.) Before you know it, I’ll be hanging a hammock out there to sleep under the stars.
So, if you’ve wondered where I’ve been the last month, the reason La Pomme has been so quiet…now you know. You may not hear much more from me until school is in session.
Now, I’m curious, how do you stop the buzzing in your brain? Seek out a little solace in this chaotic world? Do tell. Once the rain kicks in, and I’ve fled back inside, I’m going to need some new ideas.
Cheers, my friends! Carrie
PS: Here’s the live, AMNW version, of my Blackberry Crisp, featured in the July/August Issue of 1859 Oregon’s Magazine. Enjoy!