This morning the wind tugged at my umbrella as I headed down the road with the puppies. It sang in my ear, accompanied by the rain pattering on the umbrella, the jingle of the dogs' collars, the sound of my breathing. My morning music, creating order from the noise in my head, soothing me, energizing me, recharging me for the day.
What would I do without these morning retreats?
I've always, always, needed a place to retreat to, a place where I can reflect, recover, recharge, relax...
The noise of my life, inside and out, can sap the energy right out of me; to recharge, I run away to a quiet place regularly to reflect on the noise and sort it out... or perhaps to block it out completely for a few minutes, to just sit in silence... breathing... listening to my heart beat...
Growing up, I ran to a tree in my backyard.
In high school, it was my bedroom, door closed...or in my car, alone, anywhere.
In college, it was to Galveston... the seawall or the beach, depending on the season and time of day.
At the chemical plant, it was up on a catwalk or down near the Ship Channel at sunrise, watching the pelicans.
Starting when the kids were small, I would wake early for a cup of coffee alone in the quiet kitchen - the calm before the storm. Even now I take those few minutes over my first cup of coffee to sit and be still... a chance to breathe, reflect, regroup from the day before.
And of course, I have my morning walk, a blessed stroll down a deserted road with the dogs, surrounded (mostly) by nature.
A new mini-retreat for me is an escape outside for a brisk 2 minute walk every few hours during my work day. Not just away from the computer, but out into the fresh air, where I can stretch my legs, get my heart pumping, take deep breaths, and imagine the wind blowing the cobwebs out of my brain.
My ultimate retreat? Once a year I run away to the coast with girlfriends. Spending time with my friends is a retreat in itself for me, but I also need time alone on the beach...I can't go long without the waves, the horizon, the sun, the birds...
As much as I love my family and friends, I relish this time alone. But I also just purely need it, like I need air and food.
I know everyone doesn't feel that way...doesn't have that need for solitude or enjoy it. I worked with a man at the chemical plant who sought out others just to have company during the long night shifts. He got lonely and just wanted someone to talk to. I loved wandering the pipe alleys and catwalks accompanied only with my thoughts, but he confessed to me he hated being alone.
What about you? Do you need time alone (and how do you get it?) or, like my friend Dan, do you hate being alone?
Today I'm grateful the elections are over - no more campaigning for awhile, hallelujah! I hope the politicians don't start worrying about reelection right away but get down to the business they were elected for. I'm grateful for the rain, but also grateful for the promised return of the sunshine tomorrow. I'm grateful we had enough money to pay bills this week AND get some groceries this evening! I'm grateful I heard from 2/3 of my kids yesterday in response to my "I miss you - please check in!" email I sent (D, where are you??)