Here we are, people, it's HIGH summer. It's hot and humid at the beach, where I live, but lucky me, I have escaped to the mountains of NC! The scenery is different and the humidity is LOW, and I am enjoying the change, but my mental wheels are turning, considering the nature of time.
I have been coming to the mountains of NC for some 24 years. Over the course of time, my best friend moved here to Asheville from Lancaster, PA, and two of my daughters have decided to call it home as well. So for the past 11 or so years, I have visited regularly and have had a bed or couch to lay my head, the only cost being a few hours sleep as we have chatty time into the wee hours of the morning. Time seems to have flown; my friend and I gathering a few more lines in our faces, and my beautiful daughters have become empowered and amazing young women. But even still, there has been a rhythm, and flow, something predictable and even comforting as we measure the passage of years in hours on the road from door to door, and heart filling reunion, season by season.
Enter the year 2020. On this current visit, I am marking the first time I have spent the night at my bestie's house in A YEAR AND A HALF. The same floors, and fridge, and rich mountain views, but time warped and over 500 days and nights just swallowed into a vacuum, never to be recovered. It is working on me. Bending my mind a little. On the one hand, I am deeply aware of the toll that Covid(yes, I said it, the C word) has taken on our planet; lives lost, careers and businesses ended, global travel mostly halted. Sometimes bitter losses, exposed and rehashed, over and over again, in the media, and in FaceTime and Zoom conversations, like a scab we cannot seem to leave alone, to NOT talk about. The unthinkable made undeniably real, as the entire world shut down. I have no desire to relive that part of it.
But then, this morning over coffee, in public, at an airy coffee shop, unmasked, my daughter and I looked into each others faces and gently reminisced about the unique opportunity we had last spring and early summer, to live together for the first time in 8 years, to stay home, cooking good food, tending a garden, walking for hours, rather than driving to get someplace as quickly as possible. We had the chance to step out of the rat race life had become, and settle into a luxuriously unhurried pace. And it was truly one of the most nourishing times either of us has ever experienced.
Such a paradox, a mystery, how we can experience such extreme loss, and unparalleled gain within the same tracing of days. It's something to think about. It's what I love about this complicated life, both precious and sublime.
My teaching schedule is changed up this week, due to travel. Click the link to check the times.