I’ve noticed a pattern lately. My weekends are good. I’m feeling good. I’m feeling happy. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I feel okay. It’s the work week. I get tired. But I get through. Thursdays and Fridays have become somewhat of a walk through hell and back. I talked with a friend about this a few weeks ago. I know it’s my J…. O …. B. I know that it’s wearing on me by the end of the week. It was so bad this week that I decided I have to do something different. I have to find the old me who is happy and playful and adaptable. Where is that girl who loved adventure and running and laughing all the time? This weekend I set out to find her. And, I decided to go with that old adage of ‘fake it ’til you make it’.
A friend told me that the corn maze was open out by Kleinpeter Farms. I called up my niece and nephew and we went out to the starlit countryside for some hayrides, cow-rides and corn mazing. We were out ’til midnight soaking up the moonshine and spending all my hard-earned money. There’s nothing like playing with kids to get me back in the spirit. I spent Saturday doing things for me. I cleaned my house, took care of some tasks that were weighing on my shoulders forever and went to a yoga class. It was a quiet day, and I even had a nice visit with my sister-in-law in my very own home. I felt rested and grounded.
Today, Ashok and I got up really early and headed to the Bogue Chitto River to go kayaking with my friends Jo Ann and Robbie and an unexpected interloper, Jeff. We were traveling with a local paddling club, the Bayou Haystackers. I knew it was going to be one of those days when God shows off as I was passing through Albany in the early morning light. Fog danced lightly on the grass like a cloud that had decided to snuggle up against the tree trunks. Above the smoky cloud, the treeline splashed into the crystal blue sky illuminated by translucent rays of sunlight. “You’re showing off,” I said, looking at the heavens. “And thank you,” I added quickly just in case He thought it was not appreciated. I breathed in deep and accepted my sudden rush of gratitude.
The Bogue Chitto
The Bogue Chitto is as beautiful a little river as I have ever seen. The weather could not have been more perfect. It was warm enough for a swimsuit, but it seemed that every time I started to get warm the sun would duck behind a cloud to give us a break. A breeze blew softly the entire day. The humidity was low, and there were moments that I forgot I was in the deep south. It seemed more like a Smoky Mountain day in the late spring or late summer. Wildflowers danced on the banks along with an eagle that treated us to an up-close viewing early in the trip. The river was sandy and pebbly all at once, and the water was cooler than I expected. I took the opportunity three times to swim and duck completely under the water to remember what coolness felt like on my skin. It’s been a long, hot summer, and this trip felt like an antidote or maybe even a promise that it was over for awhile.
The company was great. Old friends and new friends took turns paddling together and sharing stories of former adventures. Familiar chatter about who’s related to who percolated behind me as one of the Haystackers mentioned to my friend Robbie that he grew up in Hillsdale. They had mutual friends in Hillsdale and went down the list to see if they knew more. At one point, Robbie asked our Hillsdale friend if he was related to a certain Miller, and he replied, “Well I’m not real kin to him.” I giggled to myself to think that you might be ‘sort of’ kin or ‘real kin’ to somebody, and then I went down the list to see who I thought I was ‘not real kin’ to. This Whose Your Daddy? talk is so prevalent here but it surprises me every time I hear it. It’s familiar because I grew up with it, but it’s one of those things that I forgot about for 30 years. It’s a bonding dance that never fails to result in transforming new acquaintances into real friends.
I was happy to see the end of the 11-mile trip because I was tired, but I hated to see it end. The lazy river meditation grounds me in a way that nothing else ever does. The necessity of focusing on the here and now to avoid getting stuck under a log and the physical skill required to navigate dispel thoughts of anything else but the present moment. If I could do that every day, I know I’d live in a different place emotionally. We showered in the beautiful little outdoor showers at the Canoe and Trail Outpost in Tylertown MS. On the way home, we met up at La Carreta in Amite. We snagged a lovely little table on the patio next to a fountain and ordered up four different versions of shrimp, Mexican-style. A storm blew over while we laughed and talked about the day. We were surprised at a lovely rainbow that presented itself. It was a perfect magic ending to a perfectly magical day. On the way home, the sky shattered into a billion different colors of pink and yellow and peach. “You’ve been showing off all day, haven’t you?” I asked. Oh yeah ….and thank you.