When was the last time you were alone, really alone, when your days were completely yours to fill? If you're like most of us, you probably can't remember.
I'm in Carmel and on my own for nearly two weeks for the first time in thirty years. I came out to take care of as many details as possible in advance of our move while OG stays in Minnesota to finish up a few projects and supervise the estate sale ladies who are charged with selling everything we're not bringing with us. I'll fly back just in time for the packing and loading before we set out on our big cross country drive.
Being alone is strange, but wonderful in its own way. Yesterday, I took care of a little business--sorted the accumulated mail, made some calls, arranged to meet the landscapers. But I also watched the sunrise gild the mountains while I ate breakfast. No newspaper, no computer, no TV. Just me and the black cows on the hillside across the river. When I came upstairs to my office, I watched the hills on the north side of the valley come to life as the sun streaked across them. I could never do that any place else.
I also worked in my little garden at our condo and have the aches and pains today to prove it. The first major weeding session of the season always reminds me how little time I normally spend on my hands and knees grubbing in the dirt. But it was glorious. This close to the sea the air is soft in a way you just don't find deep in the Midwest. Around the patio, my lavender and brilliant yellow daisies are in full bloom, and in the tiny front gated garden, I have soft pink camellias and hellebores and a couple of bright red primroses. Since we'll be living here for a few months while the new house is being remodeled, I plan to make the most of it and go to the garden center this afternoon to buy more flowers.
Last night I started reading Natalie Goldberg's masterpiece, Writing Down the Bones, for the first time, and a remarkable sense of peace enveloped me. I could feel my breathing slow and my muscles relax. I've slept seven hours for two nights in a row. I know I'll feel lonely and miss OG well before my time alone here is done, but I need this time--probably more than I ever imagined--to take a break from the whirlwind that has been my life for the past few months. I need to slow down, an almost impossible task for me. I'm determined to make the most of these days so I can tackle the challenges ahead with a refreshed body and mind. Wish me luck.