Birds and Shit

A whole bunch of years ago G and I rented kayaks at Puddledockers in Ithaca, NY. After setting us up with paddles and life jackets, the outfitter, a bored college kid, pointed to the right and said, “If you go this way, you’ll end up on the lake (Cayuga); if you go this way (left) you’ll see birds and shit.”

We went left. We like birds and shit.

This morning we went back to the Ding Darling Nature Preserve and rented kayaks. We toured it yesterday on bikes. I think I liked the kayaks better. Fish practically jumped into our yaks. Ospreys hovered overhead, then dove head first into the water trying to spear those same flying fish. G saw a turtle and some starfish. I saw watery trees reflected in still water.

We paddled a marked kayak trail through mangroves and at one point I got so close to a big heron I could have easily touched it. (It freaked me out, actually.) It is unnerving when a big, quiet, notoriously shy bird like that allows a person to get so close without taking off.

It is our last day here. Tomorrow we will be in Airport World. It has been a good getaway. We are both agreed that our time in the nature preserve was our best time here. Sanibel is a beautiful island. The water is soft and swimmable. There are plenty of good restaurants. But the best part is that 60% of the island is a nature preserve.

It has very good birds and shit. 

  

“I” is for Idle

“I would NEVER be sitting on the couch reading a book now, if I was home,” said G, just now.

“I would be out finishing the fence or cleaning the garage or walking Boomer or …”

Why is that? Why don’t we let ourselves rest, relax and re-set when we’re home? Why do we have to “get away” to be idle?

(I was just reminded of that line in the Mary Oliver poem, “A Summer’s Day” in which she said, and I am paraphrasing here, “I don’t know what a prayer is, but I do know how to be idle and blessed.”)

Idleness incubates creativity. It’s a fact. That’s why you should let your kids be bored. 

Often. 

It will force them to encounter who they really are, and come up with ways to amuse themselves that will show them what they love to do. 

The same thing with grown ups. Don’t mow the lawn or fix the fence or check Facebook. Let yourself be bored. Then watch what you do. Don’t do chores or work or check your phone. Then prepare to get squirrely. Hang in. Eventually you will gravitate to something. 

Maybe you will go for a run or pick up a novel or a sketchbook or your pen and your journal. Maybe you will scratch around in your garden–not because it needs to be weeded, but because you love to play in dirt.

When people tell me they don’t know what they want to be when they grow up, I say, “Watch what you do when you procrastinate.” Do you play your ukelele? Do you try out a new recipe?

Today G and I woke up early and went out to the Ding Darling Nature Preserve. We rode bikes and saw roseate spoonbills and cormorants drying their wings in the sun.

An alligator blocked our path. Uh-oh.

 

Back at the condo we napped and read and talked and showered. Apparently, when left to our own devices, we like to have adventures outside, and then reflect on them. We like to talk, and then be quiet, and then eat and sip interesting beverages. *grin*

I like to do this blog. It has become a source of real pleasure lately. I was forcing myself to post every day back in March, and now there is no forcing.

So, today has been brought to you by the letter “I” for Idleness. I hope you find some for yourself. It would be lovely to know how idleness enriches you.

 What do you do to be idle and blessed?

This Getaway Brought To You By The Letter “B”

Everyone has their own recipe for the perfect getaway. Here’s mine::

B is for Beach. 

This morning we took a long walk down the beach to the lighthouse. This beach is famous for its shells, so much so that people walking along, looking down, are known for their slouching posture, named the “Sanibel Stoop.” G was guilty of this poture, but not me. I strode along with perfect posture looking for…

  
B is for Birds

I especially loved the pelicans. They are so graceful in flight but they land like a US Airways pilot (i.e. clumsily and hard!) But then we spied this pink-footed and beaked lovely. Who can identify her?

  
B is for Books

I finished Resilience on the plane and started this one today. It’s okay. Nothing that I didn’t know and hadn’t already read in Seth Godin’s Linchpin. I have another non-fiction book in my bag, and a novel. I think I’ll start the novel tomorrow. I brought Euphoria, which Emily is reading at the moment, too.

  
B is for Bikes

After lunch we went exploring on the rental bikes our condo provides. Destination? Pinocchio’s for ice cream (I got gelato.) No need for gears. No hand brakes either. Made me nostalgic for the Schwinn I had as a kid. Fun.

  
B is for Beer

G loves to try new beers. She picked up a craft-pack at the grocery store the first day. (A craft-pack is a selection of individual bottles.) We have a late dinner reservation tonight so we are having appetizers here at the condo now, and we just split this:

  
I prefer Porters or Stouts, but this isn’t bad.

“B” is also for Blogging and Big Naps which I also enjoy  during these little adventures but they are harder to take pictures of. So for now, I’ll say…

BYE.

The Bed Is Bigger Than The Kitchen

 The first day in a new place. 

Where to get food? 

How to organize time? 

What to do first? 

Who are these others? 

How to fit in?

Mostly, how to fit into this kitchen. Holy closet! (I am writing in the WordPress app for Ipad and I am having a little fit with inserting pics, so if they are huge or microscopic –sorry.)

This is G’s elbow to elbow wingspan in the kitchen.

  
Fun, right?

The bed is huge, though. What doees this say about where to spend time?

  
The day is hot and soft and quiet. The water is bathtub temperature, shallow and clear. Shells everywhere.

We went for groceries, and for breakfast.

Florida is weird.  By weird I don’t mean “bad” just not my tribe. But I wasn’t expecting that. It’s not a hip, vibrant, exciting place. It has a decidedly “Grandma” vibe. We didn’t come here for the vibe, though, we came here to be soft and quiet and warm and contemplative. And to drink gin and tonics (me) and beer (her).

We came here to rest and re-set, to get back to some deep, warm, elemental place. We came here to talk and read and nap and sup and walk and ride bikes everywhere. 

We came here to notice things, both exotic, and ordinary. 

At the entrance to the grocery store there were these huge cages scattered under towering palms,  each one housed an exotic colorful bird. The bird at the entrance said “Hello!” to everyone who passed his cage. Another one wolf-whistled when you walked by. 

We brought lots of books, and very little work. I kept my FaceTime appointment with Jennifer, and then I started a new book and then we went for lunch, and then we took naps, and now it’s time for dinner, and then a drive out to Bowman Beach to watch the sunset.

  
  

Sanibel Bound

Tomorrow we go to Sanibel Island, Florida.  Never been there. It’s supposed to have good shells.

I am looking forward to sitting under an umbrella, my toes in the sand, the sound of the surf in my ears, and reading voraciously, and then staring out at the horizon with equal absorption.

I am looking forward to being warm, and floating in blue water.

I am looking forward to walking on the beach.

I am looking forward to getting out of my routine.

I am looking forward to diving into books, and writing with a pen, and thinking onto paper.

I am looking forward to being quiet, and talking to G, and riding bikes, and sleeping, and eating seafood.

I am looking forward to exploring a new place.

I am bringing Resilience (which I am almost finished), Start With Why, The Power of Small, and Euphoria.

We shall see what gets read.

Yesterday  my daughter and son-in-law put a bid on a house, and today that bid was accepted. It is a sweet house bordering green-space with extensive bike trails. I am so happy for them. Tomorrow is Em’s birthday and this could not be a better present.

Tonight in Gentle Yoga I confessed what happened with my Apple Watch last night. I took the watch off and marched it over to the other room to the cheers of my class.

It had to be done.

Technology is wonderful, and magical, and helpful, and fun, but it is also intrusive and disruptive and a distraction in a yoga space.

There is a time and a place for everything, right?

(Right.)

Yoga and the Apple Watch

Is there anything more obnoxious than a person checking their phone in yoga class? I have seen it happen. Not in MY yoga classes. Oh no. That would not stand. I catch you checking your phone in class? I’ll rip that thing out of your hand, bitch. Don’t even think about it.

But in classes I have been a student in, I have actually seen people checking their phones during savasana.

Which brings me to my new Apple Watch. I have had it less than a week and I still haven’t exploited all its capabilities yet. Just yesterday I discovered that I could just say, “Hey Siri. Call Edith,” and it will call her and I can talk to her from my arm, while I’m driving, for instance.

If I get a text, I get a haptic on my wrist, and I can read the text on the watch, and then respond with my voice.

Tonight during my Power Yoga class, I was doing the warm-ups with my class when I felt the haptic. Without my class even knowing it, I read my text.

(I didn’t answer it, obviously.)

You see where I’m going with this, right? Now that technology is getting really subtle, and people will be able to get notifications right on their watches, it is going to be harder and harder to find techno-free sacred space.

I guess I could choose not to wear my watch during class, and ask that others do the same. And it will probably come to that, but until it does, I will wear it and just see how intrusive it really is, and watch my reaction to it.

I hope I don’t have to bitch-slap myself.