Monday, April 25, 2011

Banishing the dark

It's true, long periods of dark weather can shape your mood. Conversely, almost a week of sunny 90°, low-humidity days can reverse that trend. Subtract a 19-hour drive each way, replacing it with a two-hour flight and adding laid-back, accommodating hosts and, well, I am extremely relaxed and grateful. Our six days in Florida were a gift.

The first three, I was the last to awaken at 8 a.m., shuffled to the porch, read until I was alert enough to swim, ate and read some more until we were motivated to undertake an excursion. That, to me, was paradise.

Sometimes staying with friends or family can make a vacation seem not so much like getting away. This, however, was different. Though I didn't get my usual, introverted alone time, I easily escaped into the kindly loaned "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and its sequel whenever I needed space. My kids orbited nearby, entertained by the pool and warm welcome of my brother-(BIL) and sister-in-law (SIL). Because their kids are older, they seemed genuinely enamored of my two, yet parental when necessary.

I noticed my BIL snagged my husband for himself a few times and I knew it was good for both of them. My husband, ten years younger, always felt his brother didn't like him. I think it's just that he didn't know him and now I see how alike they are. Interestingly, my youngest latched onto that pair, hanging out with "the guys." When we outlined any plans for the day, she always wanted to know "What's Uncle Jim doing" before she chimed in. She's still repeating the silly limerick about pelicans he taught her. It cracks me up. [see video clip below]

As much as I cherish my reading time, I also loved getting acquainted with my SIL, who is a relatively new family member. She, too, has raised a very independent daughter and we commiserated, sharing stories which were eerily similar. Between conversations, we lapsed into reading or, maybe, it was the other way around. Nonetheless, comfortably sharing the silence with someone speaks volumes about compatibility.

Now we're home, the luggage is unpacked, the sand shaken from my shoes and the routine unfolds. But with a bit of a twist ... my being is smiling as the result of the sun, sand and nurture of family. Enough so that I spent the later morning on some personal-growth work and I now see a sunnier path ahead. I am certain it had been there earlier, but the real clouds had intruded into my attitude. I've banished them.

• How has the long, grey winter affected my being?
• What can I do to counter that?
• When and how have I recently experienced nurture?
• What gifts I have received lately.
• How can I see the sunnier path ahead?

cold, damp and dark days
strung endlessly

invade me
can make me crazy

and I forget that
I choose my interior environment

which can be as many consecutive days
of sun and warmth as I desire,
banishing the dark

making me smile
all over


  1. I love your writing. I was relaxed just reading it! I'm glad you had a good time. We all need that occasionally. Enjoy the wet weather and clouds. You'll appreciate the sun and blue sky when it comes...
    -Amy Brumleve

  2. Thanks, Amy. It is always good to get away and return. Hope you had a good break as well. I appreciate your reading!
    -- Cathy

  3. Cathy,

    I'm so glad that you came and more importantly that you had a good time--I enjoyed you and your family immensely---please come again!

  4. Thank you for being such a welcoming hostess ... to all of us. I would say it was just what we all needed ... a breath of sunshine from Florida and family! Can you prod Jim into watching Lily's video? I wrote on his facebook wall, but not so sure how often he checks.

  5. awesome-- yet another convert... next i'll teach her about anthering panthers and problems with kittens and maybe even ladies from trent...tell Lily I said "thanks!!!!"