We are well and truly into summer now, with temperatures into the 90s and 100s. It’s the time of year when you can feel the heat of the day reflected back from the walls of the house even after dark. The garden, as always, has begun its creeping towards taking over whatever ground is in its path–stepping stones are hidden under mysterious tendrils of squash runners, frameworks that just a few weeks ago were bare string or bamboo are now covered in a living green curtain. And yet, even in the midst of all this blooming and blossoming, the seeds of the fall and winter to come have been sewn.
My summer has fallen into a comfortable routine; I wake every morning now just before my 5 a.m. alarm, and in the weeks since the summer solstice (June 21), I can already tell the days are shorter by a few precious moments. I split the days with various activities, all done and finished by 7 am or shortly thereafter–Mondays and Wednesday, 3 mile walks, Tuesdays and Thursdays, pre-dawn swims where today I swam 1.25 miles in just a bit over an hour. Saturdays and Sundays, I reserve for early morning bike rides, because I still do not like to ride my bike in a lot of traffic and the advantage to being an early riser on the weekends is that everyone else is asleep and not driving!
Friday mornings are my t’ai chi class, which I am growing to really like. I was not sure of the teacher at first, but we have completed the first 13 of 60+ moves in this form, and so there is enough for me to really practice and nail down in my body memory. I can tell my balance and steadiness are already improved with this work. There’s a lot of balancing on 1 leg and shifting of weight back and forth, playing with your center of gravity, which is why t’ai chi is so good for helping to rehabilitate stroke patients.
On Wednesday nights, I sit. I really like the Zen sangha that I have joined. Everyone is friendly and accepting, and this brain of mine NEEDS an hour of very silent time to just quit thinking for a while and not do anything. Physically it is challenging, believe it or not, to simply SIT and not fidget (I’m a HUGE “fidgeter”). My legs fall asleep and wake up again. My back hurts. My leg muscles stretch in ways they normally don’t. I crack like a bowl of Rice Krispies when I get up, but it’s all worth it. It’s a great balance to all the physical activity I have got myself into this summer.
Yin and yang. Move and sit. Active and quiet. It works.
This morning, I was the first person in the pool. That’s one of my favorite things in the world–to be the very first to cut into that sheet of quiet water, clear, perfect, see to the bottom. I make it a challenge to see how quietly I can knife through the pool, how small a disturbance I can make. It’s the first time I’ve been first in the water since I started swimming this summer.
This weekend, G and I are going up to Denver so I can practice some open water swimming at this place. It’s a place where triathletes train, and I’m excited and scared at the same time. I am really looking forward to just swimming, swimming, swimming, with no turns until I turn around to come back. We’re going up Saturday after I get done with work and stay with a friend and former boss of mine. Then we’ll meet up with a couple of other women from the swim group, swim and probably have breakfast somewhere and then head back to Pueblo. Then it’s work on Monday, as I’ve swapped my regular day off so that I can go back to Denver on Tuesday to the VA for another appointment for G. Life is always on the move here. No stagnation allowed.
I’m still amazed at how this summer is progressing. G spends her days in the yard/garden and working on quilting projects. She has begun to repaint the house, after at least 2 years of trying to nail down the right colors. I think we have done it, so photos will follow. Son-in-law offered to paint and patch and he has done the majority of scraping, etc., but then he disappeared, so I am not sure where we stand on that. My daughter’s phones have been turned off again, so I guess we will have to go to her house to nail them down. Ah, well, every little bit helps.
In the meantime, there is great comfort in this routine. I feel good. I am using my dumbbells to help with arm strength and still fitting in a yoga and stretching routine. I am enjoying my work and use every medical report I type to find more reasons to stay away from doctors.
Here in this little corner of the universe, there is no recession, everyone has enough and some to share, and we are happy to welcome new friends and neighbors in to pick beans and share the bounty.
So, come visit and after you have your veggies, I’ll pour you a glass of iced tea and you can rest on the porch.