Yesterday my apartment began to feel more like home. My younger son, Ross came over to put up my pictures and then After Hours Geek arrived to mount my television to the wall. It’s been two weeks since I’ve seen any programs, and I’ve missed more than anything the morning news shows. Often I’ve had them on because I wanted to have company in my quiet house. Watching the evening news takes me back to my childhood in the sixties, sitting in our den and viewing Walter Cronkite with my family after supper; it was part of the familiar rhythm of the day.
The quiet of no t.v. has served its purpose; there’s been time and space to focus on the tasks of moving and divorce mediation. Half-listening half-watching television has more of a mental energy drain than I realized until I was completely unplugged. Like the forced isolation and shelter-at-home of the past months of the pandemic, it’s amazing how much you can accomplish when your time is not so fractured with activities and distractions.
After the pictures were in place and the t.v. was programmed, I settled onto my sofa with my dinner and watched episodes of Anne with an E on Netflix. It’s based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s book, Anne of Green Gables. I never read that book as a girl but had heard from family who’d visited the setting on Prince Edward Island, Canada that it was a gorgeous location. Whether it’s a book, a t.v. show, or a movie, part of my interest is in discovering a new place. I’ve often said I like to read with an atlas in one hand and my book in the other.
This is the time of year when I took most of my solo journeys. While I don’t have a desire to do that right now, even if there weren’t a pandemic, I do feel the pull to new vistas. Now, I’ll have to do that virtually. Watching four hours of Anne with an E which was so skillfully filmed, I was pulled into the beauty of that remote island. I like that the story is historical fiction– based in 1896. Seeing inside the houses reminded me of my childhood, living in my father’s home place built by his grandparents in 1880. Watching the daily farming activity of Green Gables made me long for the summer days on our farm, working and playing in our barns and buildings.
While Anne’s life as an orphan had been difficult, that era would be seen as a simpler time with a slower pace; Simpler and Slower appeal to me now.
When we’ve been through times of strain and complexity, it’s healthy to feel the need for rest and relaxation– to enjoy the simpler things. I remember the summer I went on my journey to celebrate turning fifty and five years of being cancer free. I chose to go to Jekyll Island, Georgia. After being there a short while, I realized that I’d been led there to relearn how to play. Like the burden of this past year– I’d become overwhelmed by a life filled with tasks. I deeply needed to just BE.
Thinking about how I enjoyed watching those Netflix episodes last night and how they called me back to my childhood, reminds me of how I felt on my journey to Jekyll. In Chapter 4 of my memoir, He Heard My Voice, I describe some of how my childhood memories flooded me while in the historic village of the island:
“Under the canopy of the trees, I took off my shoes and socks and walked on the thick grass that felt like a tickly carpet under my feet, no longer accustomed to going barefoot. Sitting on the ground, I looked up into the gigantic live oak. That large tree reminded me of the hundred-year-old ones that surrounded my childhood home: walnut, pecan, oak. the best days of my childhood were spent playing under those trees with my sisters, especially Peggy, who loved being outside like me.We used their roots for kickball bases and hid behind their large trunks during twilight games of hide-and-seek with friends. At the edge of our tobacco field, we’d had a treehouse in the chinaberry, its lower limb wide enough that even our dog, Ruff, a collie mix, could follow us up to our perch. (p79)
While Anne in the Green Gables story has an extremely active and advanced imagination which often gets her in trouble, I could identify with having imaginary friends. Mine were Patty, who lived in our holly tree, and Susan, who stayed across our dirt driveway in the dogwood. These friends were my companions for many years and helped me when I felt alone or just needed a playmate in my rural setting.
Last evening was the most restful that I’ve had in some time. It was such a pleasant escape to go to Prince Edward Island, to not feel like I needed to pack or unpack, to clean out, or to gather more documents. Sometimes it’s a great relief to just Be.
Think I’ll do that again tonight!
How about you?
How do you rest and relax, allowing yourself to just Be?