October was a flurry of activity especially compared to 2020, which was essentially lacking in any activity or flurry. My niece, Lowi’s daughter, got married in Arkansas. I have been working on some ideas for future projects and then we ran a half-marathon in Lula Lake Land Trust last weekend. It doesn’t make for an impressive list but it felt busy.
Much like some of you, the intensity of life has ratcheted up since the onset of the pandemic for sundry reasons, none of which I will list here because you know. You’ve been living this life too.
More than ever I have been acutely aware of my bandwidth and how much I can take on. How about you? Do you sense that you meet your limit much more quickly than you used to?
Unplugging is one antidote to it all. The night before we left for Tennessee John clued me in that the day after the race we were headed to a cabin in the Smoky Mountains. Then he added one more note, cell service and internet access were unpredictable. Almost immediately I could feel my shoulders begin to relax. A forced disconnection. Pulling the plug on what likely represents 50% or more of people’s stress sounded like just what we needed. And it was.
Sunday afternoon we rolled into Little Arrow Outdoor Resort in Townsend, TN. You can bring your tent, RV, camper, or if you are more my speed; you can go glamping, stay in a cabin or a tiny house all on-site. We lucked into gorgeous fall weather and had two beautiful days of calm and quiet, except for that little escapade to Cades Cove with bears that I told you about last week.
It was trees blowing gently in the breeze, water rolling across the rocks that could lull you to sleep while in a rocking chair, and the sun warming you just enough that you could stay outside for hours.
As we relaxed in the sun or hiked the rather challenging trails on the property I could feel myself untangling. If you are not paying attention, and we all lose our focus, we get bound up in small knots, which eventually grow into bigger ones. We assume the answer is to work hard at unwinding the knots but as I learn again and again the answer is to stop. Pull back, unplug, breathe, rest, and maybe the hardest part of all, wait.
In this case, it was waiting for nature to take its hold on me. It wowed me with the beautiful fall colors and soothed me with its unending quiet. All I had to do was let it. By the time we descended into the lower terrain on the hiking trail, I was fully taken by the moment with the sun shining, the water from an earlier rain occasionally sprinkling from the trees, and just how lush and full the experience was. These are some of my happiest times when I am out on a trail, especially if it’s new, and I don’t have any time constraints. I can be enamored with the water, or a leaf, or whatever happens to cross my path. I can take as long as I want.
When we returned to our cabin many of the tangles and knots were gone or had worked themselves out into a simple plan of resolution. As Anne Lamott says, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G