Sunday, October 11, 2020

Finding Freedom

Sometimes things happen and change the way you move about your day and suddenly your life is that much richer, that much more connected and that much more worth living. 

In this moment, I'm not talking about a big health scare or the current polarization of our society or the edginess and fragility that comes with discord. Instead, I am talking about two chairs. Yes, two scavenged chairs Steve picked out of the trash and that we put behind our house. I've showed them in a video here. There is absolutely nothing special about these chairs in their appearance, but in their promotion of lounging, they are novel to us. We come from a clan of workers and that's what we do. Day in. Day out. It's productive. It's often wonderfully mind numbing. It's societally acceptable and lauded. Something about this existence for ourselves though has nagged us for years, hence, the About Us on our website and all our moves and starts and finishes and zigs and zags. 

These chairs, in the late afternoon sun, call to us. We feel the daylight and sunlight waning. We know these days are to be savored, so we sit, we lay back, we watch the sky, we feel the warmth and the breeze, we witness the vultures soaring south for weeks, we see the warblers eating food in the black walnut south of us. Sometimes, we notice a vulture that looks different and we see it's not the common turkey vulture, but rather the black vulture. We pull out our binoculars and we ooh and ahh. Then through those magnified lenses, we see monarchs soaring hundreds of feet above the earth, green darners and chimney swifts too. 

This morning we woke to wet and cloudy skies and saw that overnight blue-headed vireos and house wrens flew down to this little patch of earth to spend the day eating before heading south once more. Those chairs slowed us down this summer and fall. We now wake to trees full of birds and we SEE them. We also hiked. We swam in cold rivers. We hugged big trees. We cried over salamanders and clean water. We saw more caterpillars than we have in our whole lives. We met black bears and copperheads and seed ticks and loved flocks of warblers everywhere we went. We met horseflies on the sweetest little beach at Pickett State Park where we swam after our big hikes. We ran the beach getting away from those horseflies (impossible) and laughed harder than we had in years. 

We felt freedom find us again. Freedom from want. Freedom from longing. Freedom from overthinking. All because of those chairs and a deep desire to live differently. To not let life pass us by. To not get so busy we can't witness the one life that is ours. This desire settled in so long ago, but one distraction after another attracted us and we took a long time to figure out we needed to weigh the trade offs. To say no. To sell campers and choose freedom over comfort. 

Persimmons are calling our name right now and the moment is ripe. It's time to get outdoors and look for these magnificent life giving trees. It's time to eat these creamy, rich, sweet fruits and bask in the autumnal light and feel great gratitude for everything good. 

Our feet are sore from longer hikes than we used to take and we love that our bodies can do this. We can cover big miles in a day and that's part of the slowing: allowing ourselves the time to hike all day long and recognizing, we are strong and powerful and this is our life. This is the life we dreamed. To be outdoors. To feel the movement in our bodies. To have no words to express the love and appreciation we have for forest and old trees and fast moving streams and mountains and marmots and grylloblattids and kind-hearted people. This is the life friends. Anything extraneous, let it go. Find ways to let more of it go. The only thing that really matters is connection - to one another, to the Earth, to good, to love, to humbleness. 

Amongst all the craziness that is happening in this world, we found peace this summer through honing in on our desires for the outdoors, for freedom, for giving back, for LOVE. May you find peace in your own way and may you find it quickly and share it with everyone you meet. Maybe it all just starts with permission to slow down and recognizing that nobleness, worthiness and value do not come from conventional norms accomplished, but rather from realizing that our life is a gift and that the opportunity to see and acknowledge nonhuman life as worthy and essential is the missing piece of human happiness. 

Autumn Sound Tracks:

Nothing to Find - The War on Drugs

Colors - Black Pumas

I Didn't Know a Damn Thing - Amy Ray

By and By - Caamp

Take it With You When you Go - Kathleen Edwards