I just returned from a long walk at “The Lizard Place”. This is what my kids call it at least. I had never actually been there before. In my attempt to find some place between couch potato and marathon runner I discovered that “The Lizard Place” is not just a vacant lot a half a mile down the street from us where you can catch cool little lizards (and ideally not have them die from fright before you set them free again). It is actually called Wyakin Park and is 27 acres of super cool nature trails. Who knew something so nifty was just down the street?
This “who knew” question is really the center point to my chatter writing today.
We shall see.
For the last few weeks my brain has been screaming “There is nothing interesting to me ANYWHERE and it’s possible I am going to DIE from this deadly bored opinion of a world that used to seem so nifty.”
Some people refer to this as a case of the blahs. I would rather explain it as a near death experience because usually almost EVERYTHING is interesting to me.
One of my friends tried to help me out of this place. He asked me to read an article from (of all sources) Popular Mechanics entitled “8 of the Most Dangerous Places (to Live) on the Planet”
and then told me to tell where I would live if it had to be one of those eight and explain why. This distracted me for a little while. After reading the article I immediately chose Verkhoyansk, Russia, the coldest city in the world: population 1500. Dying from the cold seemed like a much better way to go than death by lava, tropical storms, tornados, hurricanes, creeping sand, inhaling poisonous gas from a lake of death, or sinking into the sea.
I had this lovely vision of hunkering down in a cute little cabin with a year’s supply of canned Spam, some blank journals, pens, art supplies, lots of blankets and a bunch of vodka…because when in Russia. I’d only venture out in my sexy REI parka to pet the reindeer once in awhile and bring in the firewood that was cut and stacked by the hot woodsman next door who has a crush on me. A place of exile for hundreds of years to political revolutionaries and writers who pissed people off, Verkhoyansk seemed like a perfect place for someone with the deadly blahs to go hang out. But then I found out that this little Siberian town was attacked by over 400 hundred starving wolves in 2012. It seems that there are not enough blue hare’s to sustain the 3500 wolves in the region, so 400 of those nasty bad dogs were sent to kill 313 horses and over 16,000 reindeer. Not cool. I’m so out. Plus it turns out that man-made cute parkas from REI will pretty much crack and break at negative 60 degrees. Why the hell would ANYONE want to live there? What’s funny is there are actually eight daycare locations in the town. Think about THAT one people. Probably something to do with the hot woodsman.
My friend, who had lost interest before I even told him about the hot woodsman part, was trying to get me to realize that I have it pretty good where I’m at and should basically stop whining about boredom and be glad I don’t have to risk my life every time I step out the door.
I mean just the other day I almost died when I could have been trapped under a giant stack of carpet tiles that fell over in my office. If I hadn’t moved unknowingly, three seconds prior to it toppling down I would have been crushed to death or at least seriously maimed. Every day is a risk people. No matter where you live.
Anyhow. I am fully aware that the only person who can bring me out of the blahs is me and I think my current blahs have been from dwelling much too much on my past self, the thinner,younger, marathon running, motivated, non-cookie eating, energetic self that I was just beginning to believe was the real and better me, the one people liked better, the one I liked better, until I sat down one day on the couch a year ago and decided I was fucking tired.
Moderacy has always been my biggest challenge (mainly because it’s not a real word); I’m one of those all or nothing chicks.
Let’s adopt all the stray cats and dogs. Let’s have all the babies. Let’s feed the WORLD. Let’s not walk, let’s run. No. Let’s run ten miles. No. Ten miles is for sissies. Let’s do a marathon. Okay. Now let’s do another! Let’s also beat the sales budget by 10% and still (try to) keep the family happy and have time for some crazy art. Keep running! Run, run, run girl!
OH! But then, OH! I’m so damn tired! And I HURT. Let’s sit down for a minute. Now let’s eat all the cookies and potato chips. And let’s sleep in just this once. Better yet let’s pretend everyday is Saturday and sleep, sleep sleep. Let’s take the day off and watch back to back episodes of “Naked and Afraid” and eat a whole ice cream pie and cry about our fat butts that we would never uncover on television like these crazy ass people have. I mean just look at all those awful bug bites! And soon…soon nothing seems interesting because I am no longer interesting. I am the most boring person I know and I can not figure out what on earth inspired me to get off the couch to begin with and be that girl everyone liked so much better than the current big blob boring self I have let myself become.
Fast forward through the rest of the wallowing. It’s very, very uninteresting. But it always eventually goes away once I make up my mind to move on from whatever thought process has me trapped. Thank goodness I weigh forty pounds more than the annoying bitch from a couple years ago who was trying to hold me down with her sassy, holier than me taunting. I finally got the gumption to shove her in the closet for a bit and put on my running shoes to go for a WALK. I grabbed two cookies and plugged my headphones into some Myles Kennedy and walked away with no plan except to eat the cookies and stop wallowing for a minute.
Walking has always seemed so weird to me. I mean why walk when you can run? But injury upon injury had pretty much made running something that currently brings me more pain than pleasure. (Another “all or nothing” thought I had adopted: if I can’t run, I’m not doing ANYTHING. Why walk when you can sit.)
But my favorite writing guru Brenda Ueland said that you must walk everyday. Slowly. Thoughtfully. Aimlessly. She probably would not have thought cookies and a wailing Myles Kennedy to be a very good meditative add-on to the walking but I’m not Brenda, I’m me. She’d approve of that.
Before I knew it the cookies were gone and I found myself at “The Lizard Place”. From the curb it really does look like a vacant lot, but OH! It turns out that there were all kinds of trails and hills and just as I was beginning to fight with the bitch in the closet whom I could hear from a mile away telling me “You should run this trail! Look at those awesome hills!” I discovered this wonderful labor of love rock labyrinth and I knew it was a sign that I was right where I was supposed to be.
You see, me and rocks…it’s a love affair. I collect them, I paint them, I carve them, I hold them when I am stressed. When I was five I got my first spanking for throwing a rock at the neighbor boy and then lying about it when my dad witnessed the whole event from the window. My children bring me rocks as love offerings: “This rock made me think of you mom.” Me: “Oh YES!!!! It’s so beautiful! I will put it in my collection!” And I do.
I found myself slowing up my pace to just LOOK and smell and feel and then engage…picking up rocks outside the trail and placing them lovingly in with the pattern of things. I did take some off trail routes and YES I did climb the highest hill I could find and I stood at the top and beat my chest a little. But along the way I collected little flat smooth rocks and made a couple flower mosaics in the dirt and stacked tiny cairns, thinking that this was almost as good as being at the river where Maria and I spent hours this summer stacking healing, flat river rocks in the hot sun.
I arrived home ninety minutes later with dirty fingernails, soothed, sweaty and in complete understanding of why my children loved The Lizard Place so much.
And for the first time in awhile I thought “I wonder what else I don’t know?”