Monday, October 14, 2013

Going to the Woods and Coming Into Focus

This photo was taken on New Year's Day. We wanted to do something significant to mark the new year, and the new chances we had before us. So, like Thoreau, we went to the woods, a place where we would not let the daily chores of life bog us down, but could instead embrace the bigness of life and be inspired by it.

Since then life has, predictably, gone into overdrive, and we've rarely had time to look at the big picture, as we did on that frigid January 1st. My oldest son has entered the rhythm of college life, commuting to classes each day and then going to work in the evening.  My youngest son has started high school and learned that it is much more challenging than was grade school, and he must spend more time on homework and projects.

My husband's job is not only time-consuming but also physically taxing, and he often comes home with not enough physical or mental energy to do more than sit on the couch and watch television.  

Much to my joy, I'm about to sign a contract with a new book publisher.  I'm thrilled about it, but again reality has crept in: I will be working two jobs, teacher and writer, and if you count mothering as a third job, then you'll be sympathetic to the idea that I don't find much free time.  I'm not saying that I need it; I've reached a stage in life during which I pretty much need to be working on something at all times--perhaps it's a way of justifying my existence.  My chore list is eternal, but I make it myself, and that in itself is a luxury.

I think, though, that it's time to go back to the woods.  Just as I'm constantly re-charging my laptop and my phone, I need to re-charge myself and my busy family.  We need to remind ourselves that the narrow paths we trod are not the whole world. That we are connected to that bigger world becomes more obvious when we turn our eyes upward, outward or inward--anywhere that we can get a sense of the larger world and its endless possibilities.  

Do I have time to go to the woods?  Yes and no.  There's a little forest preserve near our home that could be a temporary respite. Beyond that, there are some deep and lovely places--where one could get lost for hours--just a couple hours in either direction.  That might be a possibility for Thanksgiving weekend.

How do you recharge?  Do you go away, or do you have some sort of ritual that you can do in your own home?


Sheila Connolly said...

Ireland. There's a place we've stayed the past two years (hoping for a third!) in rural Cork, where you relearn what darkness and quiet are like. I'd forgotten how many stars there are!

Congratulations on the pending contract!

Julia Buckley said...

Thanks, Sheila. And yes, that's just the kind of escape I'm talking about--the sort where you rediscover nature and the truth.