It’s day four of my solitary summer adventure, soon to not be so monastic as my family joins me tomorrow. The Amstel beer and bottle of Valpolicella, eating well and meeting a lot of interesting folks, definitely, disqualify this as monastic. Nevertheless, it’s always wonderful to regain a sense of who I am and a more playful rhythm when I am alone.
It helps me remember myself separate from the identities I take on when around people I love and know well. It’s that enneagram #2/helper thing I do and it’s sure a vacation to leave that behind.
I have been working, though not as intensely as I was last January when I visited for a week. It was easier in the bitter coldness and bulging white blanket to remain inside with a fire lit internally and externally and write. This community was almost vacant and lakeside walks turned up little more than birdcalls, deer tracks and crumbled geodes as company.
Right off the bat, I met am amazing woman who is this cul-de-sac’s go-to person. She shares her recreation key with me and we’ve had some nice conversations poolside. She’s a five-year breast-cancer survivor, who takes none of this natural beauty here for granted. Everyone seems to know Donna.
Yesterday, I wore a bright orange skirt and matching scarf, ready to cheerfully greet the day. It was quite the conversation starter and I reverted to just being me, Rosie. Brenda is a costumer who runs a jammed closet-like vintage shop on Bloomington’s square. Her concoctions of new and old are divine. Around the corner, the young guy running the shoe store made me feel like a queen trying on $150 shoes that I did not buy. I can’t remember the last time I was waited on in that manner. I sat on the comfy couch and pretended, knowing full well I would not get this pair. He didn’t seem to care, yet treated me as if I were his best customer.
I had a nice chat with the IU (Indiana University) student in the fair-trade shop, exchanged pleasantries in words and energy with the guy in the holistic space next door and generally enjoyed the day, paying attention to most all I met. Usually I’m in too big of a rush. The cashier in the department store where I did buy a pair of shoes, for $25, had the most stunning aqua eyes and I told her so. I was noticing and noticed.
I ended my outing with an iced coffee, meeting five-month-old Mohammed and his father, who was tending him while his wife was at the nearby salon.
Today, not physically dressed in orange but still feeling swept up, I made my way to the famous Saturday farmer’s market and was not disappointed: brown eggs, fresh cheese, organic meat, Indiana sweet cherries, garlic skeins, lush bouquets, Amish farmers, the guy who sold me black and raspberry bushes, students, starving artists (one from whom I bought a painting), intellectuals, upscale bakers, klezmer musicians and a woman in Laura-Ingalls-Wilder dress doling out just-popped corn from a bloated copper kettle. What a melting pot (ok, so maybe predominantly a white melting pot).
I am beginning to see everyday can be this way: a feast for the senses with many connections. Some deep, others for the moment only. It’s about experiencing each moment joyfully, with an eagerness and openness that so often get left behind in our hurry to the next task.
• When was the last time I really enjoyed being myself?
• What were my interactions like then?
• Was I noticing and being noticed?
• How can I remember that place in myself?
• How can I greet the day as myself, with eagerness and openness, instead of feeling bombarded by my to-do list?
the short orange skirt
and matching beaded shawl
made me feel like a ravishing tigger
the princess trying on the glass slipper
the activist concerned about workers in Ghana
the seamstress interested in vintage costuming
the gardener learning about berries
the artist supporting another
the foodie who bought the local cheese
the visitor who felt welcomed
I was me and
all those I encountered