Breathing Room

I ran this morning until it hurt. Perhaps I was inspired by my work colleague, M. whom I met on the trail somewhere after the 1 mile mark. She was heading North to Dunedin on a 30 mile run. We spoke at length about life as it is and the need for running. How we write lesson plans, letters, solve problems, and create new ideas as our feet guide us to known and often unknown destinations. Her goal inspired me to run further after a week of not running at all.  It was completely unplanned; I surely had plenty of time-more time than usual last week to get in lots of running. Yet, I found myself letting things unfold. Yoga and chakra meditation really called my name. The weather was cool-very cool and windy- and I welcomed the chance for a hoodie and windbreaker to walk in on Spring Break.

Spending time with myself and loved ones down here was the goal. My stepdaughter and I enjoyed lunch and long walks and big talks together; we grew closer than ever. Emily was down for a family obligation and managed to drive the extra 115 miles to see where I live, accompanied by lovely Lillian, her daughter. Her mid-week visit filled my soul and ironically, made me feel more grounded here. Showing her and Lillian the sights of St. Petersburg was truly a thrill.

Mountain Women on the city streets!

On Friday, I spent the morning walking the beach at Indian Shores, listening and looking. Seashore treasures abounded:

 

Peace was at hand at hand-at least for a little while.                                                                                                                                                     

Saturday dawned and we headed for a run on St. Pete Beach, where my father lives. He thought only my husband would be out and said I was a “good  surprise” so early in the morning. I decided to walk and talk with him. Simply wonderful! Later in the day, we joined him and others at a waterfront joint, enjoying the turquoise water,  slow-moving boats and surfacing dolphins. We celebrated a traditional New England St. Patrick’s Day dinner that night at our house.

Still, the specter of insecurity persists, seeping into conversations in the midst of sunshine and laughter. I continue to resist, shining my own light, becoming the change I wish to see.

 

 

Hot Spell Hibernation

Image courtesy of: http://www.skymetweather.com

My stepdaughter once said to me, “We have only two seasons here: hot and really hot.” We are well into the second season here. Unlike the Northeast, where an ocean breeze feels like air conditioning and the heavy surf is bracing cold (maybe 65 degrees if you’re not on Cape Cod) the beaches here do not provide any true relief. The breeze is torpid and the water temperature is 89 degrees! We are at the height of heat and the new school year is just around the corner!

I have found it strange not to have a clear demarcation of the four seasons. Even in the darkest, coldest and snowiest of winters, we knew it would eventually end.(Although if you lived through the winter of 2015, you might beg to differ!) Winters are the hardest part of living up north for various and valid reasons, not the least of which is hoping that your roof doesn’t cave in from too much snow or your pipes don’t freeze if the power goes out. Of course, if you live in the city and depend on public transportation to get to your job, and the conditions shut everything down, it has the realistic potential of your losing a few days’ wages. When you live there, you just have to be prepared as possible for the worst weather and it is often very disheartening and depressing.

Still, I cannot help but compare. I’m looking outside right now and it’s gorgeous. What the heck am I doing sitting here? Well, for one thing, I’m wiped out from my long morning walk and back yard weeding. It’s 91 degrees with a dew point of 80. It’s damn hot!  The current conditions just sap away at my energy. When I lived up north and it was sunny (regardless of the season), I went outside for as long as possible. Why? Bad weather was always around the corner. Sometimes it was weeks away, sometimes days, sometimes hours or even minutes. My body and mind were in sync with this practice. Plus the air was so refreshing and invigorating! Even on a zero degree day with the sun out, it was tolerable. Trust me, I have done it.

In contrast to where I currently live, we hibernated during the season when most of Mother Nature goes dormant. Those deep, dark December days when the sun sets at four can are at once agonizing because of the lack of light or pleasing because it’s a great excuse to get into your jammies and curl up with a good book.

So, is this a matter of synchronizing my body to the fact it will always be less dark and more hot here? Is it also a matter of adjusting my mind to the idea that despite of how the day looks, it is just as bad as a cold and dark winter afternoon? Perhaps. I’m just grateful that we have good air conditioning!

Keeping the Homefires Burning

campfire

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about connections lately. Connections to people, places, things. Ideas and dreams. Hopes and wishes. My life has been beautifully busy since the start of summer. No time to write or read my favorite blogs. I have been out in the world soaking up moments and memories. Even as I write this, I am in between events. ( It’s the Fourth of July after all!)

My connection to my adult hometown is breathing its last breaths. This will be my last full summer before I marry and move to a whole new zip code and climate. Even so, I am not really spending much time at the house. Last week saw me in the mountains with my fiance’ and some of his family. I had spent time as a youngster and young adult hiking in the region, a mere two hour drive from my town. Last time I was there was a decade ago in wholly different incarnation (married with adolescent children). I recall a brilliant and grueling hike-one of the few bright spots that trying summer (see The Summer I’d Like to Forget). The 4 days in my present life were jammed packed with movement in the great outdoors, running and hiking and horseback riding for the girls. We were nestled in a cozy farm inn; its lack of pretense and absence of noise adding to our relaxing moods and quiet conversations.

Back at home, we’re relishing the heat (for the most part!). Late and leisurely suppers in the backyard, a small bonfire, watching the deer and catching fireflies. I’ll miss these things and that southerly breeze that flows in my back window by the kitchen sink.

Today, I sit and write in the heat of the tropics. Funny how the summer’s sultriness here forces people inside for relief  much the same way the winter’s bitter chill and darkness does up north.

Independence Day was a just right celebration. A cookout with my dad at the grill, the meal shared with happy strangers who quickly became familiar. No need for best behavior! Amusing conversation was the centerpiece of the day (along with this outrageous roasted pineapple guacamole, YUM!). Later, fireworks at the beach and nature’s own lightning show.

I am still straddling two worlds. The campfires burn strongly in both places and that is perfectly fine with me.

 

#FWF Free Write Friday: Fireworks | Image Prompt

 

I decided to combine two of Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday prompts since I missed last week’s. Hope you enjoyed this complete stream of consciousness drabble!