Mad in Pursuit Notebook

workspace. trying to have it all.

Summer

Sept. 1, 2016. The summer has been hot and muggy, but without rain. Moisture just hangs in the air, taunting the grass. Living now without air conditioning, my rhythms have to correspond to the weather: quiet in the heat, active when a cool breeze strikes. And we grow roots.

Last summer we bought this cabin on Lake Ontario. It became the summer of sunsets and visitors, outdoor discovery and wonderful indoor space. It was supposed to be a vacation place, but winter came and we never left our cozy perch on the edge of the world.

After a tempestuous spring, summer came around again, this time with a list of household chores and maintenance projects. Summer meant "get off your crafty ass and..." My compromise: I would balance a menu of projects in four categories: Visual [textiles, dolls, etc], Interior [plumbing, electrical, etc], Exterior [groundskeeping], and Writing. V.I.E.W. Worked well, except the only writing I did was to jot in my journal that I had done no writing.

So summer became about about organizing -- earthy and solid. For a while I added another 4-fold dimension to my daily self-review. For each V.I.E.W. endeavor, am I LEARNING (expanding my horizons, exploring the edge of my comfort zone)? What ENERGY level is powering me (robust, fierce, or quiet)? Am I AMBITIOUS enough, feeling a sense of ADVENTURE and ACCOMPLISHMENT? Am I PROBLEM-SOLVING, building my base of skills and therefore my confidence to take on more? Ah, another mnemonic: L.E.A.P.

On July 11, we had movers deliver another load of stuff from the condo -- our TV-watching chairs, Jim's bureau, and ALL the contents of my small studio. It dawned on us that we would never live in the condo again. The summer had grown hot and dry -- not much point to gardening. Time to change focus from an array of small projects to one: moving.

Last year, between our decision to buy a lake house and the closing, I did a lot of reflecting on "fierce energy." No more fooling around, time to be bold. Usually, events "unfold" in the course of living. Once, in a while, you have to grab that folded sail and unfurl it all at once to catch the wind and GO.

And so our summer days have become a trek -- 18 miles south to organize and deal with condo stuff, 18 miles north to plop boxes in our cabin. A three-hour trek, followed by many hours organizing space and deciding what we can do without. Bags and boxes exit with the destination of landfill, recycle plant, or donation center. Last summer was about the luxury of sprawling between two properties. This year, summer is about downsizing -- as elegantly as possibly. No chaos, just focus. Chaos makes me cry. Nothing tearful about clarifying and simplifying.

And thus summer becomes more of a vehicle for action. Warm, dry days let us keep moving. The soft breeze, the lapping water, the colorful sunsets tell us it's worth it.

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Books by Susan Barrett Price:

THE SUDDEN SILENCE: A Tale of Suspense and Found Treasure (2015) Thailand: lovers of ancient treasure tangle with international black markets. Delia Rivera pulls Martin Moon back into the game and their quest turns deadly. In paperback and Kindle editions.

TRIBE OF THE BREAKAWAY BEADS: Book of Exits and Fresh Starts (2011) Time after time, Mary asks herself: Do I go or do I stay? She finds her power in her ancestors: Smart women turn discontent into action. An illustrated memoir in paperback and Kindle editions.

PASSION AND PERIL ON THE SILK ROAD: A Thriller in Pakistan and China (2008) The twin forces of revenge and redemption drive Nellie MacKenzie and Taylor Jackson on a crazed adventure into the heart of Central Asia. They grapple with issues of ethics, trust, rage, and bitter heartbreak -- as well as the intrigue of the international antiquities trade. In paperback and Kindle editions.

 

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