Project Love Baton Rouge: Days 17 and 18 – Feeling the Love

Me and our backpacking instructor, Katherine

Me and our backpacking instructor, Katherine

Yesterday morning I found myself singing in the kitchen… singing … and dancing. And I wasn’t singing any song. I was just singing whatever I thought. I sang to Ashok about her food. I sang to Buster about drinking his Kleinpeter milk. I picked him up and danced around the kitchen. When I realized what I was doing, I giggled to myself and said thank you to the little fairy that Lexlee gave me this week to live in my heart. My singer is back.

When I was a little girl, I sang all of the time. I sang at the top of my lungs. In my little girl mind, I was a star … a star in the same vein as Barbra Streisand. I don’t think I sang very well, but I sang. It annoyed my family, I’m sure. One day my sister hit me over the head with a stick as I was singing to my adoring fans that filled the pasture beside my childhood home. At some point – probably around the time adolescent peer pressure kicked in, I suppose – I realized I was not a singer and stopped singing.

Last night, we got ourselves ready to backpack in our class. Each one of us lugged our gear, our food, our underwear and whatever else we will need for the weekend to class. Katherine showed us how to pack. I’m now out $1200 at last count due to the exercise that forces us to be minimalistic. I’m not sure how that happened. You’d think minimalistic would mean buying less, but it doesn’t. I’ve been to Cabela’s twice, Massey’s Outfitters once, the Backpacker three times, Walmart twice and shopped Sierra Trading Post, Amazon and Backcountry.com on the internet. The good news is that the weekend trip will cost us $4 plus gas. Once I get the gear, the cost of travel will be minimalistic.

My new friend Carryn and my coworker Jennifer and I are anticipating with excitement and a little worry how this all is going to turn out over the weekend. We’ve already had to change venues because hunting season is happening in Kisatchie. Our new destination is Chicot State Park where we will not be accidentally shot when we flash our white undies squatting to pee. I am at once grateful to not have to buy a bulletproof vest and disappointed that I won’t be hiking Kisatchie.

My clothes for the weekend are packed in a gallon Ziplock bag, my food for 2 1/2 days is crammed into two Ziplock bags, and Ashok is practicing her walks with a backpack loaded with two cans of beans for weights. You’d think I was forcing her to walk the gauntlet. I’m worried about mosquitoes the size of toads and gators who haven’t yet hibernated eating my dog over the weekend. But, we’re going, and I’m totally stoked. Maybe I’ll even sing on the trail.

I went to Starbucks this morning and got my first eggnog latte for the season. The line was wrapped around the building and almost out to Corporate Blvd. There is no boycott here. People are stopping to chat in my new office on a regular basis, and I’m loving my new digs.

So today what I love about Baton Rouge is that I think it’s beginning to grow on me. I was miserable yesterday sweating in 84-degree weather on November 11. I’m still pissed that I have to drive over 8 hours in order to stick my toe in a mountain stream. But I can’t ignore the fact that I’m singing for no reason other than I feel like it. My social schedule is starting to get so full that I’m considering cutting back. My list of new friends is starting to crazily overlap with my childhood friends because my circle is getting so large. I’m loving my new crazy, colorful office and the scores of people that are dropping by just to say hi.

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They say that gratitude informs the Universe what you love so that it can offer you more of the same. Maybe what I love today about Baton Rouge is that it is loving me back. That’s all I ever really wanted. From the time I was a little girl and felt like I didn’t fit, I just wanted to be accepted for who I was – bad hair, bad singing and all. Maybe the fields aren’t yet filled with adoring fans, but I’m happy enough to sing anyway. Now that’s something worth writing home about.

6 thoughts on “Project Love Baton Rouge: Days 17 and 18 – Feeling the Love

  1. I wait with anticipation …for your next email…

    I like to live vicariously through you…hiking those trails you and your dog take, office cubicle decorations, and anything else… but now that I am too old to do it. I thought I’d like to try it, but again thought…what if my knee went out, etc…Yet…there are still so many things I have yet to do…keep giving me ideas Sharon!

    And today you gave me a great laugh! I can picture Susan hitting you on top the head to shut you up. Fran and I were like that…and I just chuckled! Thanks Sharon!

    • Someday I will write about how notes like this encourage me to look for the next adventure. I hope you do get out and try something new, no matter how small it may seem. As long as we are still breathing, we are alive.

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