Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Where Does She Find The Time?


One of the things I am most frequently asked is how do you find the time? The trick, I think, is to find what you love and go after it, without roadblocking or discouraging yourself. Some things I do to help myself along my path.

I make lists.
I keep a clean house.
I group tasks and errands.
I ignore the phone and the internet.
I set limits on how much time I will give to a task.
I triage.
I do things that I love and work most days.
I don't work at all some days.
I make choices.
I have a clear vision of my goals and obligations.
I allow my vision to shift with necessity.
I break tasks into component parts.
I start early.
I plan ahead.
I expect the unexpected.
I hustle.

How do you find the time? Share your answers in the comments.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Last Tomato


Fall has descended seemingly all at once. The air is cold and thick with early rains, the trees are drawing straws to see who will change color first, and the nuthatches have eaten half a feeder of seed in the last three days. But the last of the tomatoes are still clinging to the vine, and managing to ripen, without the aid of sun or extra watering. I have not abandoned them, just left them to their their task. I enjoy the fortitude of the late tomato, the pressing forward of goals, desires, and obligations. The fall is the time for the completion of tasks, a period of preparation for coming hardships. In fall, we have to face the put-off things of life or surely suffer consequences in the dark days of winter. And so I strive to be an end of season tomato, focused, sure, and proceeding, making one last stand in my pot with what is left of my resources.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sun City


I never grow tired of the desert, even though I am a daughter of the rain. I do not crave the heat, or love to lay out in the sun, but there is something about the desert calls out to me. Perhaps it is the contrast, that no trees obscure the view, no sinking into mud with every step, no dense clutches of vegetation or low-hanging clouds. Instead, there are coyote, saguaro, and scrappy stands of tiny trees that though smaller in stature are no less impressively old than even the tallest of Northwest Douglas firs. I enjoy the resilience of desert life, the necessary lengthening of timescales. In the desert, water will not come to you daily, or even by the month, best to savor thirst, celebrate it, and turn your mind from longing. The desert reminds me to accept the life I have been given, to make do. It illuminates the struggle of ordinary things and the value of simple things. There is great joy and beauty in the procurement of the necessities of life. It is, after all, a wonder. Try not to take it for granted.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Get 'er Done


A list of items encountered, tasks completed, and things remaining to be done in the twelfth of fourteen weeks spent on the road. In no particular order.

Car registration, two months old, still in receiving envelope. Found in pile of crumpled tax receipts.

Odor, unknown, coming from the empty bottom drawer of the refrigerator.

Emptying, of every waste basket in the house.

Professional registered geologist survey, completed, but not returned.

Bird feeder, empty, giant blue jays, angry.

Towels, 15, cleaned, folded, and stacked at foot of bed, presumably in case of towel emergency.

Litter box, cleaned, emptied, refilled, still stinking, so tossed out entirely.

Birthday cards, two weeks past and mostly of owls, scattered on every available surface.

23 voice mails, waiting.

Boarding passes, printed in duplicate.

3 empty bottles of sunscreen, two broken pairs of sunglasses, and one, still wet, swimsuit, in beach bag.

Tomatoes, 2, the last of the season.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bright Lights, Big City


Yesterday, after weeks of dusty trails, dense forests, quiet lake swims, and hot springs, I hit the city.  Not just any city, mind you, but a real, honest to goodness tall buildings, stand-still traffic, sidewalks that smell like pee, big city. And after all that time in the wilderness, it made me break out into a white-knuckled sweat. I couldn't think fast enough to make decisions in traffic, I balked at prices, and I nervously yanked at my now-uncomfortable city clothes. I wandered like a refugee, a displaced person of some kind, dropped into an alien world where the women are all ten feet tall, the men are always speaking into a cell phone, and all the surfaces are reflective. I felt like an outsider, a yokel, a gawker, and a little sick to my stomach. This panicked anxiety surprised me. I hadn't realized how drastically my context had shifted from the urban jungle to the, well, jungle jungle. It made me acutely aware of just how much I thrive on the calm and quiet of the outdoors, the ability to hear myself think, and the lack of over-stimulation. I wonder about living in these places, how people find time to themselves, where their quiet moments happen, and how they ground themselves. I wonder what it means to 'get used to it', if you lose the longing for the wild after a time, or if the call of it is simply drowned out by the urban din. I was glad for the trip, for the afternoon of playing tourist, and the necessary business that got done. But I was also glad to head back out, to smaller buildings, empty streets, tall trees, and the great outside.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Out of Towner


It's been a long summer. The trees are browning, the ferns are fading from the thirst, and everything, everything, is covered in dust. My long ago tomato starts and I have faithfully stood in our pots, and even produced some fruit. But mostly, I have been away. Of the last twelve weeks, I have spent most of ten of them adventuring, visiting friends, working away, and on the road. This week, I arrived half an hour before turning around and heading to work, and will leave again today as soon as I get off. My cat is pissed at me. My luggage is never unpacked. I have not see 'that' YouTube video. I have not seen anything you, or anyone else has posted on Facebook. People greet me like a long-lost friend. There is something to be said for stepping away, trusting that the things you need the most will be there when you return, and the things that fade were going to anyway. Being gone does a lot of good for sorting your priorities, forcing you to make choices, and teaching you to let things slide. 

 Where are you going?