there’s something that soothes when you sit by a lake, especially early in the morning, when the temperature has equalized causing the wind to drop off, and the water looks almost like glass, rippling gently as underwater streams flow. it’s a lovely slice of peace and quiet, available to me because even on vacation, i get up early.
i poured myself a drink, giving thanks to the inventor of the programmable coffee maker which brews a carafe before you get up, and headed down to the deck, pulling out a chair so i could sit and enjoy the moment. the sun was cresting over a nearby hill, creating a sparkle on the water that amplified the beauty of the morning. i could hear birds chattering at each other but that, too, seemed quiet, the calls muted to suit the tranquil morning.
i sat down in a sling-back chair, feeling calm and at ease, drinking my coffee, and just being. the hills across the water looked so close that i thought perhaps i could swim to the other side, ‘til i saw a boat on the far shore looking tinier than a toy; i realized that “over there” is farther away than it seems.
the water looked inviting, but it was only ten hours since i last touched in my toes and watched them turn a light blue; the temperature is still one step removed from refreshing. the lake water hasn’t built up a residual of heat from the summer sun; it’s glacier-fresh in its crispness. i love to swim, but the cold and i are not close friends. besides, i was enjoying the moment; i didn’t really want to interrupt it with activity. it was lovely to just be there, silent and still, with no thoughts or expectations.
i don’t mind my early morning wake up calls when i can revel in beginnings like that. i like not feeling the internal pressure my brain normally produces. i like it when i’m not anxious from mental lists of things to do, thoughts to think, and choices to make. i like not waking up agitated. it’s not the location that does it, though that helps. it’s the mindset. i’m different when i’m away. i allow myself to be at ease. i prioritize correctly and don’t focus on minutiae, something that doesn’t happen at home. when i’m sitting by the lake, i’m there in the moment. i’m not projecting myself into some other situation or reality, and the quiet that settles into my brain, as a result, is fabulous.
i get that feeling from reading sometimes. i lose myself in the pages, be they paper or electronic, and all the superfluous flotsam and jetsam that normally rattles my brainpan just disappears. i don’t obsess over the size of my thighs, or what i ate yesterday, or what i should be doing. i’m silent inside; the clutter that normally clogs my brain is held in abeyance. i get lost in the characters and the story; the challenging stuff that winds my brain up like a hamster on amphetamines gets put on hold. the thoughts wait for me and pop up almost instantly when i put the book down, but while i’m in it, the intrusive thoughts are absent. it’s the same quiet that happens when i sit gazing out at the lake water.
when i go away for the weekend, i take my clothes and toiletries but leave my neuroses at home. i need to figure out how i do that, exactly. how am i able to give myself permission to just be when i’m elsewhere? why do i deny myself that ease at home? i want to have vacation brain all the time. i want to carry with me the quiet peace i enjoy when i’m away. i want the acceptance that comes when i’m there, sipping coffee, watching the glassy and glossy surface of the water, and enjoying the otters and ducks as they wake to face the day. i want to obsess over nothing. carrying those feelings with me into my real, day-to-day life can only be a good thing. i just need to figure out how to get it done.