Traveling on a Greyhound bus from Hood River on an overcast afternoon, I felt restored and at peace. The Columbia River Gorge is one of the most majestic places in my world. Strong hills shoulder the wide, high Columbia on both sides, and there is something so grand and powerful, something beyond time here. I know that this area was not always like this, but it feels so permanent to me. There is no other place like it.
I spent a lovely 25 hours with my dear best friend sister Amanda in Hood River. This was our second annual weekend retreat and we used our time well, pouring our hearts out to each other, our ideas. Eating good food at a lovely restaurant and staying at sweet old hotel, where the space heater made us blow a fuse and we listened to a tour of ghost stories in the dark, waiting for the desk clerk to finish thrilling the other guests so she would come and toggle the switches in the fuse box. We visited toy stores-- the preschool teacher and homeschool teacher--critiquing certain products and sharing our delight in others. I learn so much from her, as a teacher, wife and mother. She is model for me in so many ways, yet she stays humble and honest and grounded in who she is. I love her for her unique, inventive suggestions and for her loving, unconditional support. Between times and in travel, I read my novel and just enjoyed those few moments of being in a new space, alone with my thoughts.
A lot has happened this year, and some of it has been hard. Even during my spring break, I felt like I had my nose to the ground, dutifully working toward something--- what? It wasn't as enjoyed as it could have been. This short trip, however, brought my head up to look around me. Perhaps spring has begun later for me than the daffodils. My head and heart have been in a hard, somewhat dark place for part of the year, and I'm starting to sense some balance now. Lately, my thoughts, effort and energy haven't been used as well as they could have been, and I've been a bit stuck in the mud. I've been worried about some of the wrong things and getting trapped in the anxiety of others. Today, traveling next to an older gentleman and staring out the window at the beauty beside me, I felt like this old shadow could be flung off, that things could be turning around to something calmer, more peaceful. More in balance with what I want from life.
Life is work and progress. I've got work to do tonight; laundry to fold and some brainstorming for next week's lesson plans. This will easily get done. I'm happy to spend time with my family tomorrow. To cut my husband's hair before he leaves for work; to slice up strawberries for Kiddo's snacks and prep the house for preschool on Tuesday. And I'm also going to take time for something else. I'm going to cut flowers and set them on the woodstove in my mentor corner and ask for more mentoring voices to come into my life, because I am needing this right now. I need more ideas, more perspectives. We will take a walk, rain or shine, and notice all the green growing glowing-green things out in the world. And hug on Kiddo. I feel a little fuller-- more patience, more empathy, more perspective. We're meant to be lights in the world, and I've more work in it to do.