perspective

Be Still

There I was packed in the plane like a sardine in a can. 24 rows deep. 4 across each aisle. Racked and stacked you’d say. The plane is full.

No 6 feet distanced. Lots of people. Recycled air. Masks up. Here we go. Cheers to a great flight. Up up and away we go.

As I sit still I look over my shoulder and see the peaceful sky. There we are floating in the clouds with the border of the baby blue sky. I enjoyed the peacefulness of being still. The calm. The beauty. The colors.

This is such a variance from my crazy hectic days in the office. Escapes like these with picturesque scenery help me appreciate life and all the experiences one can have as long as their eyes are open.

In that moment it took away the tears of the girl by my side feeling anxious in the sky. The mask. The extra people. The sardine-like atmosphere. Watering eyes over the mask showed the pain. Shaking of the leg showed discomfort. Grasping jewelry around her neck for comfort. How were we so close yet I felt calm and she felt fear?

If I could take it away the pain and fear I would. As we move along the calmness peeks through her fear. The discomfort was temporary thank goodness. A movie is on. A snack in hand. A little water to wash away the woes.

The other neighbor is a technology guru. Clicking on the wifi. Surfing movies. Wait, I need to sneeze. Oh my not on a plane. Yup not once, twice. We giggle in the row a little. Good thing my mask was up! My neighbor didn’t flinch on her technology. Cropping and editing photos. Music in the ears. Not even phased. I’m even learning how to make cartoon images on an iPad from the neighboring seat. It’s so fun to see how others pass time.

Meanwhile, I just keep floating in the cloud. Glancing into the horizon. Thinking about tomorrow. Visualizing the fun and adventures ahead on my little trip. Time to wrap this post up.

That was a long 15 minutes if I do say so myself. This story is real. You may be the most fearless person and boom anxiety can hit. Without warning. Surround yourself with people who know you and can see your struggles so that you can be comforted when your world is closing in on you.

For now I will be still and enjoy my trip above the clouds. My special place where I am just floating in thought as I write some blogs on this very day.

Sending you a smile and wink from the sky above. Somewhere over Jackson, Mississippi. I giggled a little as I wrote that state. M-i-squiggly lines-I-squiggly lines-i-pp-i as I recall from my childhood school days.

friendship, giving

Longest Night

When became an adult, got married, moved into a house and had kids (not necessarily in that order), I joined a Methodist church. I was raised Catholic and went to a Catholic school, so this was a big change. One of the first new traditions I embraced was the Longest Night. Each year, on Winter Solstice, the Methodist church had a service that focused on the darker times of the past year. People came who had experienced loss, depression. grief.

At that point, I had recently lost my mother. I had a new baby, a new home, and was overwhelmed and heavy-hearted. I joined the bell choir and played for that service. That first year, I remember just crying through the whole thing.

As you can imagine, the service is not just about loss. Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year. Once Solstice is over, brighter days are literally ahead. So the service is also about finding hope. About persistence. About the triumph of good and light.

I love symbolism so this service always meant a lot to me. I like the idea of things getting better. Of marking time. The cycle of increasing light. And it always comes just before Christmas, a time of frantic preparation. It is a moment to just be still and reflect.

I don’t attend that church these days, but I still take time to reflect every Solstice and remind myself that lighter days are ahead.

This year the Solstice seemed both especially poignant and especially necessary. COVID has wreaked havoc on many lives. So many in my circle have lost loved ones this year. Some due to COVID, others for other natural reasons, but COVID took away our ability to gather and mourn in the way we all want and need to. Still others are hunkered down at home to protect themselves and loved ones, which brings all the pain and challenge of isolation, disruption of routine, and more.

It has just been a heavy year.

I started hearing about the “Christmas Star” (or Great Conjunction) a few weeks before Solstice. Again, the symbolism of Solstice, this unique astronomical happening, and the stars were literally aligned.

I also had it in my mind to go caroling this year. I say every year I want to sing for people more (and not just the poor people at the gym who have to hear me sing along to the soundtrack when I’m squatting). I don’t know why I expect opportunities to be a backup singer for Yacht Rock Revue to fall out of the sky. This Solstice I see I need to create those opportunities.

Who could I bring some light to? We decided to visit two special Moms who have had challenging years, each in their own ways.

I loaded my car and started the night by going out to see the Christmas Star. I went to a parking lot in a remote park about 15 minutes from my house. I was surprised to find about 25 other cars in the lot, all there to view this planetary wonder. I just took some time to quietly look and think about this year and its gifts.

Then, it was over the river and through the woods to the first grandmother’s house. A couple of friends and family members joined in. We dressed silly, I brought my sleigh bells and song books, and off we set to spread some cheer. Our living room concerts brought laughter and tears, smiles and singing along. We took requests. We flubbed the lyrics and stumbled over melodies. We jingled our bells, giggled, swayed and twinkled. In the end, we brought cheer and good tidings and light. On the way to grandmother two’s house we saw lights and so many other holiday sights.

Both these women have lived through this challenging year. They’ve made the most of it. I hope we brought some light and hope to their lives this December. I know their smiles and delight lifted me up. As one of them put it, when we said our goodbyes, “same time next year!”

It’s a date.

family

Fresh Air, Fresh Hair

Don’t underestimate the value of fresh air or fresh hair. Today I had a little of both. This weekend I had a plan for me and my mom. Normally my weekend involves toting kids to activities or getting to point a, b and c at set times. This weekend was different. No have tos. Only want tos.

First event was sunrise yoga. I got a fresh start on crisp morning with some wonderful gal pals. This step was important. I stepped outside first thing in the morning. I had clarity of the mind. I was all-around peaceful. Ready for the rest of the weekend.

Stop two was a pick up. A kidnapping of sorts. I got to grab the beautiful, one-of-a-kind mother of mine. I was taking her from her home to get some fresh air and a haircut. 12 weeks she had been cooped up thanks to Corona. The opportunity was there and I took it and her. Off we went. The haircut didn’t take long but how she enjoyed the shampoo and the cut. She felt like a million bucks. Even if you can’t go places often feeling good about yourself is important. She needed and wanted the hair cut for that sole purpose: to feel good. I felt amazing for making it a reality.

We didn’t stop there. We packed up for a mountain escape to the amazing cabin in the woods. A short drive but one that yields gorgeous views.  From icicles on the rock formations to mist on the mountains, it’s part of the experience. She doesn’t like to eat in the car but I packed her some sweet treats for the ride and it made for a perfect picnic. No crowds in a restaurant to worry about. Just yumminess to go. 

The weather was perfect. The cool mountain air was just what was needed. Fresh air. No smog. No mask filtering the air. Just fresh, crisp mountain air. Secluded. Peaceful. Surrounded by amazing views. What more could we ask for on our escape?

We baked a chicken. We made a salad fresh from the garden and it was ever so tasty. Fresh bread warmed in the oven topped off our meal on girls weekend. Off we went into the darkness to view holiday lights. First stop was the small town decorations. Then into the hidden homes that each played 20-minute light shows set to music. It was a new, fresh holiday treat for us. Windows were down, fresh air flowing, holiday music was blaring and lights were flashing. A great way to make new memories in a new place away from the crazy of life the dark shadows 2020 had cast on many.

Tomorrow is not guaranteed. I never know how much time I have with my mom. For now, I enjoyed the peacefulness of fresh air and many smiles and giggles with the woman I have adored for years.

Many I know don’t have the luxury I have of still having their mom. I share mine when I can so others can have a sliver of her wisdom, her personality, and her sweetness. Getting to your 80s is a milestone. Still moving about and experiencing new things and places is a gift. Living through a pandemic and bending and flexing to rules and lockdowns is draining. Fresh air and fresh perspective can put the fog of tomorrow in the rear view, even if it’s just temporary.

adventure

91 On Board

My little weekend escape is over or almost over. This afternoon I was on the back of the plane which allowed me to hear the count and recount of passengers manually by the crew before take off. 91 on board. Confirmed 91 on board by the second attendant.

That led me in my idle time on the plane to calculate the percentage occupied to available. Just over 63% was occupied on this flight. I think that’s an upward tick compared to some previous months of hard times for the airlines. How long can airlines hold on with diminished capacity?

I was flying Southwest as mentioned in a previous post. Group boarding but one seat open in between each passenger unless people are family. Another friend was on Delta with the same open seat strategy which I observed on my last Delta flight. Delta includes sanitizing wipes in the on-board sacks. Another was on Spirit and oddly enough there was no breaks in seats and the plane was more full according to a friend. Interesting how each airline adopts their own plans relating to safety and profit.

The airport seemed busy enough on my return leg but not packed. I again enjoyed the people watching aspect including the two women with shower caps, masks and chemistry- type goggles that I saw in line at Starbucks. I really wanted a picture for this post but I couldn’t bring myself to snapping it.

Just another day in the air for this girl. Surprisingly I was super relaxed and just observing for my pre-flight wait, my actual time in air and as I moseyed on out of the airport for the day.

Time to get back into the swing of life for a few days before traveling again. Figuring out my end of year travels. Have to wrap up the cruddy year of 2020 where I seemed firmly planted most days on the homestead. Off to adventure more.

Stay tuned to see where I land next…

friendship

First Impressions

Picture it: Disney World, pandemic 2020. We had a lot of time together that day. When lines were longish, there were games and idle chatter. We had a few precious maskless minutes as we enjoyed a meal in a social distance sit down restaurant. Lunch was wrapping up.

Somehow the idea came up…let’s do impressions of each other. Wow. Immediately queasy.

This group has known each other for a while and let’s just say we’re pretty friendly. We’re farmily after all. So the ups and the downs were all on display. All the quirks. Things we say too often. The things we complain about. How someone always forgets their wallet. Take too many pics on insta. Little phrases we use. How my daughter always loves to shut me down with “It’s FINE Mom” whenever I am freaking out about something.

Finally the spotlight turned to me. Yikes.

My laugh is apparently a thing. I laugh loudly and hysterically. And I slap my hand on my leg when I do it. Yup, now that the light’s on it, I can’t deny.

Then, I burst into song all the time. Right in the middle of a song, in the middle of a conversation or an otherwise quiet moment. Yup, totally me. (Do they know I’ve been singing the whole time in my head and some finally just popped out?)

I have photos of everyone going back to the beginning of time. I take pictures way more than anyone likes. Need a pic of a game or an event or a moment 10 years ago? Give me a sec while I scroll. Yup, I have the 256g phone. Alllllll the pics (even though I never post any of them.)

I talk about my workouts. I talk about my watch rings. I’m a little too vocal about burpees. Yeah, ok, I’ll take that too.

I guess that’s about it. Could be worse, I guess. A giggling, singing, photo taking, fitness buff. I’ll take that.

We giggled. We gawked. We acted each other out. When you’re friends like us, it is what it is. No holds barred. For better or for worse.

What’s your latest impression?