Friday, August 12, 2022

Thinking and Walkabouts

I accomplished lot yesterday! I was the energizer bunny all day (except for about 45 minutes when I video chatted with Nicola). I was on the move from 8:00 am to 4:00 when I quit because my back was aching from all the bending over to pick up all the shite I’d raked up in the yard. I watered all the gardens thoroughly, cleaned and filled the bird baths, weeded two large gardens, and I raked up all the Fir cones from the largest lawn. When I stopped, I was thrilled with all that I had done. I’m going to keep going today.

Cathy and her partner Christopher read my blog and so, sometimes, does Dianne. Now all three of them are reading the Bruno series. Dianne (I think it was her) told me about Donna Leon and her series about Commissario Guido Brunetti. Nicola raved about the series, and she told me about Mick Herron’s Slough House series.  

Last night I got online and bought thirty of thirty-one novels in the Commissario Guido Brunetti Series, written by Donna Leon (the latest is currently only available in hard cover). They’re set in Venice and rich in all things Italian—especially food. Just my cup of tea. I’ve still many Bruno novels left to read, but I’m glad to have another series to read once Bruno is done. And after that: The Slough House series. It’s a shift to spies from detectives.

Light the fire! Grab the blanket! Hot chocolate and a mystery. Winter? Bring it on!

I’m not conscious of thinking when I’m gardening. As I sat here, at my desk last night, I tried to remember what I was thinking about as I worked yesterday. I know I was thinking about not touching the rose thorns as I weeded at one point, so I assume I think about what I am doing as I work. Dunno. Only when I stop moving, do I become a conscious thinker. 

When I stop, and still, the narrative of my thinking mimics speech. It’s a very different way of thinking when I am working. My thoughts come in grammatically correct sentences. When I’m working, I’m in a kind of automatic pilot mode. And when I am outside, I’m highly stimulated. I know that when I was raking, I was focused on watching for dog poop as I raked up Fir cones. When I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing yesterday, I was thinking about what I’d do once I was finished doing what I was doing.

But sit me down in silence and it’s like plugging in a light that’s already turned on. There’s instant light. In the radiant silence of this island, I’ll bet it’s much easier to meditate than in the city with all its ambient noise. As soon as I stop and relax, I become self-connected. It’s in that state I recall my past and ponder my future, plus I think about my day.

It can be dangerous to be alone, unmoving in silence. I can turn on myself very easily, torturing myself with guilt or shame or fear. Much of the time, I compare how I understand myself now to how I thought about myself in the past. I understand things differently now—better, I think. I’ve spent a lifetime reacting to opportunities—adversity, expectations, failures, so, so, many things that came my way in life, most by choice, sometimes by fate.

Moving here, however, has made me far less reactive. So little changes day-to-day here. I live in a little tiny world. It’s no wonder I feel calmer than every before in my life. So, I’ve got that to be happy about. And my silent unmoving self inserts awareness of death into more and more internal narratives. Sometimes I’ll look at a tree in P.P. and wonder how big it’ll get before I have to move/die. I hear the clock ticking in many of my ponderings.

I have a new habit. I go for a little walkabout in P.P. during twilight. It’s like taking a Pill of Contentment. I love the park. I’m pleased with it and in knowing I’ve done it all on my own. It pleases me even though I knew nothing about gardening and still don’t. I don’t research anything; I go on instinct. I get what’s available in the nursery; I don’t have a plan. I’m an impulse buyer. I love all plants.  I planted, moved some, and lost some to lack of light.

But the results please me. I especially love seeing the picnic table and hammock. They are very evocative symbols of pleasure and good company. It’s my pleasure in them and the yard that draws me to walk in it as it gets dark. Issa and Merrill are big users of the hammock and now all my outdoor meals are in the garden (and not on the deck). Lydia, Steve’s sister, her husband, daughter, son in law and grandson are coming to visit next Friday. I’ve been cleaning up the yard so we can play a form of croquet in the open part. And we’ll eat outside whenever we can.

I still find it shocking to realize that I own so large a lot plus the studio and hot tub—even the shed—as well as the nicest house I’ve ever had. How did this miracle happen?

Yesterday I had a lovely long talk with Nicola. She’s been living in her home in Nova Scotia for almost six weeks and she’ll be there until October. We were on FaceTime, and no sooner did we get settled, than the call died. It happened twice. When we were connected, we were having a great time talking and I was talking using a new technique I’ve discovered that improves my fluency (but not my speed). 

After the second fail, Nicola called on my land line and I could hear her, but I could not get any words out at all—only grunts. It was impossible to speak with her. But in a video chat, when I can see her, I speak well. It was shocking to be completely mute on the land line. It’s so bloody frustrating, my condition. I’m so grateful to my friends who accept it and work with me in loving conversation. 

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