I actually closed my eyes for a few seconds during my run this morning. Not to be a daredevil, but actually to become more present and really absorb the sounds and environment around me fully, with big deep breaths.
My family has a cottage on a lake near my hometown where we spent the summers sailing, waterskiing, hiking in the woods and creating lifetime memories with our siblings, cousins and extended family. It’s a little cottage built for a family of 4 or 5, which we usually pack with way too many people and lots of activity. Over the years I’ve grown, gone far, far away, had my own adventures, grown up, made my own family, and created a whole life of my own. As everything around me has changed over time and I’ve evolved, the cottage and the lake remain the same. It’s where I got my first poison ivy, had my first kiss, learned to master water skiing, sailing and rowing, got in my biggest family fights, had my first high school party, bonded with my dad over boat rigging, bonded with my mom over peach canning, once saw 18 shooting stars on my 18th birthday with my best friends, experimented with my first home improvements (the bathroom paint and wallpaper still crooked to show for it) introduced my own kids to nature and true imaginative play, and through it all, found my center.
The crunch of the gravel under my feet on the driveway never changes, nor does the quality of the air, the majesty of the trees, the buzz of the distant boats or the color of the leaves and flowers that seem to grow only here. For more than all of my life, these things are constant, unlike most things. When I’m far away, I imagine this place to find calm. When I’m here, I soak it up and store it for later.
I think we all need a place like the lake and the cottage either in reality or in our imagination. A place to get centered, find our peace, and count on to remain steadfast. There’s something about looking at the same tree I’ve looked at since I could open my eyes, and knowing that no matter where I am, or what I’m doing in the world it’s still here, growing, getting stronger, roots reaching deeper through it all. As I ran the path just now on which my dad first coached me on how to run years ago, I closed my eyes to let myself go, record the sounds, capture the taste of the air, and fill up.
I’ll keep creating change and working to open possibility in the world every day. Meanwhile, I’ll keep tapping back to my roots and this place for strength, inspiration and perspective. The strength of the lake and awe of the trees make me stronger.
Big deep breaths- I’m off to make it a great day with my family, and create more memories to build on.