Monday, July 22, 2013

Fighting perpetual motion

The view from the porch

It's a Monday on the lake, the quiet time after the weekend vacationers have left, the ski boats are back at the dock, the occasional sound of a lawn mower in the distance.

 I came back to the cottage this morning after a vigorous and fun Zumba class, faced with a decision --- go to town with Michael, or stay 'home alone' for the afternoon.

That's a big decision for someone who has spent an entire life in motion.

As I eased into the decision, I wondered if this new appreciation for quiet, for privacy, for aloneness, is growth, or age.

No matter.

 It's finally a cool day in the Northeast United States, after a scorcher of a humid, hot week. Yesterday we had a lovely north wind and spent the afternoon sailing around in one of our sailboats, one of many of our fleet of lake boats. I'm comfortably sore, comfortably tired. Comfortable.

 I grabbed my library book and a soft lap quilt and headed to the metal porch glide, savoring the vocabulary, the word selection, the introspection in this lovely book, "The Lost Art of Mixing."

 Listen to this delightful passage:

 "For some reason, everything seemed so much clearer when he was at the lake. Tom had tried to talk about it once to his father, who had misunderstood and gone on a long tangent about weather patterns and a lack of pollution. But that hadn't been what Tom meant. For Tom, life in the city was full of patterns so complex you could never see the separate strands. But the cabin never changed; it was the place he returned to, judged his own progress against his sameness ---- the unexpectedly tall top porch step that tripped him as a toddler later becoming a comfortable resting spot for his long teenage legs as he sat on a Fourth of July watching the fireworks. When he returned after his freshman year in college, he came to see that porch step as a joke played on every newcomer, whose eventual instinctive adjustment to its height would be a sign of their true inclusion in the tribe of summer people."

My daily instinct is to grab the paintbrush to get another coat on the primer, weed the side yard, pick berries or cherries or peaches and get them fixed into jam, do the laundry, wash the car, make a phone call, query that freelance article, do the dishes, run to the market to buy fresh vegetables, sweep, vacuum, dust, wash windows.

Endless motion.

For today, I'm grateful for retirement, grateful to have the will (or fatigue) to stop, sit, read, contemplate, look at lake from this old porch. And try to remember to do it again tomorrow.  Or at least sometime soon.

I'm missing all my friends and family from around the world, hoping you get a chance to join me on this old, sloping porch sometime and listen to the quiet together.


Anonymous said...

I remember that view fondly. I wish I were on the porch with you now, listening to the quiet together.

Ellen said...

I'm right there with you, Sylvia. But for me, the lake was always about sitting and reading. It's what I remember most about the solitary summer I stayed there in my mid-20s. It was magic. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Sigh, yes, a good book and Seneca Lake on a summer's day hold fond memories for me too. Thanks for opening me to thoughts of those quietly beautiful times, Syl.