Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tuesday's Reflection: A Day of Roaming

This past Saturday was one of those days my husband Bruce and I most love. In the morning he attended a men's book club at church in which they discussed Barbara Brown Taylor's Learning to Walk in the Dark, and I enjoyed cleaning the house. No, I am not exaggerating. I enjoyed moving from room to room, spitspotting and shining and straightening here and there, bringing a springier look to the house. When Bruce got home, he wondered what I had planned for the rest of the day. Now truth be told, if he hadn't asked the question, I would have been content to retreat to the garret to write, but he asked, so I knew he had roaming on his mind. 

That is something we do well--roam. We are not Point A to Point B people. We are people who know there are many unexpected points between where we start and where we think we might want to end up. We aren't big risk-takers, but we do like to see what is around the next bend.

I said I would like to go look for a new ceiling light for the bathroom. I know that sounds dull, but doing that led us to several shops we knew would tease us with treasures. Not only did we find a small blingy chandelier, which will be perfect, but we stopped in a florist shop, Martha's Gardens, and bought two small pots of miniature daffodils and grape hyacinth and had a charming conversation with the owner, too. 

Then it was time for lunch. Now, we could have gone to one of our favorite neighborhood spots, but why not try some place new--on the other side of town. Off we went, kind of, sort of knowing where it was. I should say that we are not GPS kind of people. Maps, yes, and even Google maps, but we are more apt to ask "That looks like it might be the way?" and take a chance because who knows what we will find.

What we found was Yum! Kitchen and Bakery. Yes, there was a long line for ordering at the counter, but that gave us more time to see what everyone around us was ordering and to have a friendly chat with the woman standing in front of us who could be a best friend if we lived next door to each other. We almost exchanged phone numbers. We each ordered the krabby patti, and sat at a communal table where I flirted with a one year old and overheard the mom's friend announce she was pregnant. It was hard not to interrupt with my own congratulations, but I resisted. 

What we didn't resist was ordering dessert to take home with us for our evening meal. Coconut cake. The only question is when will we return to try something else?

At that point we could have returned home to our various solo activities, but I suggested going to The Open Book which is where the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts, The Loft Literary Center and Milkweed Press are housed. Once again we headed to another part of the city, this time not far from The Guthrie Theatre. I had been to a meeting at The Loft earlier in the week and was intrigued by the rehabbed building, but didn't have time to snoop in the gift shop or enjoy the exhibits in the gallery or sit in the coffee shop. Why not today? And off we went, taking the long way round and why not? 

Finally, we ambled our way home, driving through what had been our loop of life when we lived here before--the area where Bruce did his family practice residency and where he had his practice until we moved to Cleveland over 20 years ago. Such changes there have been, including a boutique in the building once called Smiley's Point, which had been home to the family practice residency program. 

As we crossed the Mississippi River into St Paul, we spotted an eagle soaring over the almost open water, signaling a shift in the seasons. What a good day.

Bruce and I have always been good tourists wherever we have lived, but now there is a spaciousness to our roaming. Busyness has been replaced by fullness in our lives. The limitations of work and other needs have been replaced with a more open-ended feeling. Our pace is different. There seems to be more space around each thing we choose to do. Time to breathe. Time to divert and go down an unfamiliar street. 

Bruce is still working, but he is no longer "on call," and now he works at part-time at home, creating his own schedule, adapting to his own energy and agenda. I have set writing goals for myself, and we are both becoming involved in a variety of activities plus we love our kid care assignments, but we have the ability to flow in a way that was not possible in our younger years.

I like the term "thinning out," that Toinette Lippe uses in her book Caught in the Act, Reflections on Being, Knowing, and Doing. I heard someone say recently that she wasn't retiring, but instead was just changing her activities, and I like that, too, but this feels to me more like a time of re-engagement. It seems to me that implies choice and intention and also awareness of who I am and what I have to give and how I can best do that. How exciting is that!

An Invitation
What have you noticed about how you choose to spend your time? 
Are you busy or are you living a life of fullness? Where are you roaming? I would love to know. 

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