Chop Wood, Carry Water

Looks like a Zen motif for this blog post! Maybe because I've been doing so much work around my house trying to prepare for the winter to come. That's sort of how it is when you live in the mountains though. The last gasp of every winter, people just sort of lay around congratulating themselves on having survived another one. Then, as the days warm, there's a flurry of activity. Shingles to repair, driveways to resurface, wood to gather (and split). Then there's that morning when you get up and it's cold outside. This morning, for example. It was chilly enough I was sorry I didn't have my gloves when I walked the dogs at 7.

A few hours later, had just barely finished raking and bagging combustible yard debris for the dump--a task that's dragged on for days here--when the first thunderclap of the day resounded. After that it rained almost all afternoon. Not just sprinkles either. It hailed a couple of times. Since I was on a roll, I washed the kitchen floor and did a bunch of laundry. As the light is leaching out the the day, I'm watching the first fire of the season blaze cheerily in the woodstove and am reminded of how simple--and pleasant and uncomplicated--life can be.

What a contrast to late last week when I spent three days at my "real" job, the one I'm trying to retire from. First there were budget hearings to prep for, then another department tried to steal, uh, sorry, that would be misappropriate, the snowblower I just bought last year, then there was an appraisal to deal with on some property we're trying to sell, a staff person in tears, then another one. And the beat goes on. What I became aware of through all that was the resurgence of a simmering undercurrent of irritation that's finally starting to fade as I spend more and more time away from the workplace. Try as I might last week, though, I simply couldn't lay hands on a peaceful place. Well, three days of back-breaking labor in my yard fixed all that. We'll see if it holds as I head back to my desk tomorrow. Fingers crossed that it will.

I suspect anything that narrows one's focus to essentials and pares down energy output to things where you can actually have an impact--as opposed to simply stewing about something--is conducive to inner peace. That's very Zen. Focus on the now. It's why people meditate. More pertinently, it's why I've meditated practically every day before work for years. Except I stopped once I officially retired. Seems that was an error in judgment.

It might have helped if I would have been a later born child in my family rather than an only child. I see that difference between myself and my husband (4th born). While I think I have to solve every problem, he's confident someone else will come along to solve things for him. Well, in his family that happened. In mine I just got nagged a lot. Heh! We truly are products of our origins.

Trying to plan one last week in the Sierras before winter sets in in earnest. Had planned to leave Wednesday, but will probably not head out till Thursday or Friday. I'm waiting with baited breath to see what our local real estate guru cum weather maven has to say about the week after the ten days of thunderstorms. He's usually right on.


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