Monday, July 24, 2017

Welcome to My Office

While staying on a Fijian island coconut plantation, I felt pleasantly envious of the caretakers whose kitchen was outdoors. It seemed to have the conveniences of a regular kitchen except without a roof or walls. The dahl and the curry that came from that kitchen were incredible, and absolute proof that one doesn't need a traditional kitchen to cook heavenly flavors and melt the hearts of men.

As we have now passed the mid-summer line, it is with great foreboding knowing I can't stop nature from taking her too early jaunt into frost covered mornings and sweatered shoulders, snow boots and dark late afternoons. My focus has become a race against the inevitable change of seasons, a fast-ditch, last-ditch effort to savor warm air and summer breezes.

So, my antidote for the foreboding of fall and winter is living out of doors as much as possible. Breakfast, lunch, and dinners outside if clouds are shading the western sunset. Studying, reading, thinking--all outside under the shade of a tree or the deck. When I sit down to write in my indoor office, it's as if the words to write are outside in the geranium potted planters, in the patio furniture, and carried on the wings of insects that find their way into my space.

Real life is outside in the treetops that flow and flutter like underwater coral.

My first neighbor when I was a brand new mother, was a hardy Canadian from the upper north of British Columbia. In the stairwell that magnified the sounds of comings and goings, in the hibernating months of December, January, and February, I heard her trek down the metal stairs with her bundled children--one in her arms and one shuffling in her snow boots.

Winter was not an excuse to stay inside. She later let me in on her secret to mothering success, "I take them outside everyday, no matter the weather. They are happier, sleep better, eat better." I tried to follow her example over the next 20 years of mothering. When I was in charge of the grandsons for a few days, we did everything outside. I even moved their high chairs outside. They were happy, ate well, and folded into their naps.

I was happy.

This afternoon the clouds are a display of cirrus, curly or fibrous, the kind that tell tales of ancient animals and knights striding on noble steeds; and a display of stratus-the kind of clouds that make you think of marshmallows and jumping from cloud to cloud as if they have the spring of trampolines. The sky is filled with cumulus too, big pumpkins ready to burst. I'm surrounded by wind rustled trees that sound like nature's white noise.

Welcome to my office.

“I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.” –Henry David Thoreau

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