I left it all behind: our supplemental insurance claim, the bathroom measurements and still-incorrect tile order, my teacher plan book, the missing ICC files, and the up-in-the-air mortgage paperwork needed for the aid application that is on hold anyway due to an inspection “mix-up.” My husband drove me away, along with my migraine, and we didn’t stop until we reached our friends’ house in the country. Within hours, I was healed.
I remembered how to talk about places I’ve been and books I’ve read. I remembered how to listen, and catalog new information about places I’d love to go and books I’d love to read. I drank in a friend’s childhood memories of fishing on the Gulf Coast, and his poignant, poetic musings on gumbo. I hunted for tennis-ball sized black walnut fruits. Handily followed a favorite long-legged person over a steep path to a waterfall. Listened, across a campfire, to a man recount his escape from certain death at the hands of the Nazis, naming all those who hid and helped him. Got dressed in a leisurely fashion to gospel music on a Sunday morning. Selected collard greens from a garden for a sublime homemade shrimp creole dish that included rice flavored with lime. Rice flavored with lime! Exquisite.
The weekend was also filled with these, straight off my list of favorite things:
a road trip with Steve
our on-the-road playlist
fresh pie with apples AND berries
colors broadcast from the trees, accompanied by a dried leaf rhythm underfoot
my clicking camera
crossing a stream on rocks
To top it all off, the two days before today included some of the longest-standing items from the VERY TOP of the long and growing list of my favorite things. These returned to me from a childhood rich with such beauty and experiences:
a sassafras tree
a deer encounter
walking through the woods at night with a flashlight and a favorite man
setting marshmallows on fire and then biting through to the goo
All these made everything I encountered after school today, all from my least favorite things list, just a bit more tolerable. Maybe even palatable. Maybe even totally OK.
Because even the least of the least are part of the same world, the same life, as all of the above. Sometimes it’s paperwork and sometimes it’s pie. I am grateful for anything about which I can say, “That’s life.”
Thanks to David, Rob, Chris, and Steve for this weekend—and to my mom, dad, brother, and grandparents, for my childhood–all of you have made me feel alive in the country & especially the woods. And thanks to Jen and Mike, who flavored tonight’s make-up paperwork with succulent stuffed peppers they made as a team. 🙂