The skies of north Georgia are beautiful. I admit this freely now. I often stop to photograph daybreak and dawn, sunset, dusk and twilight.
As a Georgia native, there were many things I enjoyed outdoors growing up, but I can’t recall appreciating the sky on the fringes of day.
Florida was a different story. I lived there off and on for many years, and 2009 is the first time I recall pausing at the sight of the setting sun.
Driving across a bridge, I witnessed the huge orb sinking below the horizon. Once bright blue sky, now dotted with clouds and awash in orange and purple and pink, I wanted to pull over in awe. Instead I offered prayers of appreciation. I couldn’t believe my good fortune to live amidst such beauty.
Soon after that I created a habit of being outside for sunrise and sunset whenever possible. Backdrops of water were nice, but not required. I ran at first light, and evenings I journaled, took pictures, or simply witnessed beauty.
One day the sunset was so majestic, I rushed back to my apartment to grab my phone. I absolutely had to to share it with my new guy friend, Blue. Serendipitous moment, as he saw a similarly beautiful sunset 500 miles away. He performed some over the shoulder acrobatics to capture his for me. Our sunset texts arrived moments apart.
The symbolism of our spontaneous exchange was sweet. But I didn’t picture myself appreciating the Georgia sun quite the same as in Florida.
Soon enough, I moved back to the Peach State and I missed Florida’s beauty for months. I was homesick for its breathtaking views, and I did not have a heart of appreciation for my current circumstances.
Finally I remembered I could seek beauty wherever I was. It was easy to find once I looked.
Within days I gave Mother Nature some credit for the green trees everywhere I looked. Later on I found the many birdsongs quite cheerful. I noticed and enjoyed new fragrances and sounds during my outdoor runs. And yes, the sunrises and sunsets were beautiful after all. Even the midday clouds capture my attention now.
The beauty has always been here. Now my heart can see it.
It rained forever and a day. Seriously. Forever, then 24 more hours of rain.
It was probably more like a week, but it really seemed the clouds would never cry themselves out.
I run. And while I engage in a variety of exercise programs, running outdoors is my favorite. It’s lovely to watch the sun rise. To smell the flowers and pine trees and whatever else is on my running trail. To listen to birds as they sing, or fight or just say hello. It’s corny. It’s great. I love it. And thanks to The Rain, I couldn’t run. For days. (Forever).
Then The Rain stopped.
The local runners waited a day for The Dry because we knew our trail would be flooded or overrun with unpassable puddles, slick with wet leaves and what have you. So we had to be patient. And on the second dry day we ventured out to brave the probably-still-messy trail.
But the main trail entrance was locked. A big gate chained shut so no cars could get near the trail head.
Not to be outdone, we, and now I really mean me, I took to the street to find another trail head at the nearby park. It would be my first time using this new entrance, so I set off with an adventurous spirit. I found it with little trouble and was on my way. A little muddy, a teeny bit slippery, but I had a nice run on a new path. I managed 4 miles that day.
Then The Rain returned.
Between The Rain and The Dry, it would be another SIX WHOLE DAYS before I could run again. And even then, I had to sneak. On the sixth day, trails were still closed, but the shy sun beckoned and I answered her call. Off I went to put my name on four miles.
In my excitement I started too fast and tired quickly. And if that weren’t enough, I soon came to a puddle I couldn’t pass. It was simply too deep and the grass around it too muddy. I was going to have to call it quits just halfway to my goal. Disappointed, but really glad to be outdoors, I turned around and ran it back in.
In the end I claimed the win. First, for going out and trying my best. And second, for getting some miles. It took twice the grit to get half the distance, but that’s how champions are made.
The blogosphere can be a cheerful place, and one of the things I like best about it is how fellow bloggers cheer each other on. We do this by commenting on posts and amplifying favorite posts across social media. We also give kudos and encouragement by nominating each other for awards. In her entry yesterday, Alexis nominated me for a Sunshine Award. The requirement for this award? Another blogger simply enjoying my blog! It’s a sweet sentiment and a nice reminder that although people aren’t always visible or vocal, they’re still reading.
Sunshine Award recipients have duties:
Include the Sunshine Award logo (above) in your blog post.
Link to the person who nominated you.
Answer these 10 questions about yourself (below).
Nominate 10 bloggers and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
I don’t read 10 blogs regularly, so I won’t nominate that many. I will say that two of my favorite blogs are Joshunda’s Tumblr which is always inspirational and interesting, and Intelligentsia Brown’s Get Chose Movement which is probably best described as scholarly ratchetry. She hasn’t written much as of late, but neither have I. I’m hoping for a resurgence soon. There are a few others I enjoy from time to time, and I reserve the right to add to this list throughout the month. :-).
So about those questions…
1. If you couldn’t blog anymore, what would your “outlet” be?
I love Twitter, and I definitely use that as a way to fellowship and communicate and develop ideas. I have a decent following there and I learn a lot through engaging my tweeps.
2. If you could go to a spa and get any treatment they provided, what would you get?
I go to spas at least annually (on my birthday), but I strive for more often than that. I always get a massage and a pedicure, but lately I’ve also added facials. The best treatment I’ve had was a combo wrap, scrub, massage, reflexology deal in Mexico a few years ago. So what would I get? All of the above, please.
3. If you could go back in time, would you have followed a different career path than you did? What would it be?
I have a journalism degree, and I’d still like to dust it off and put it to good use. If I could have a do over I may have pursued magazine journalism or creative writing – both things I was angling toward when I veered toward teaching instead. In any event, I’m happy I became an educator, and I plan to begin my second career as a writer sometime around my 40th birthday.
4. You can plan any type of vacation you want. Would you want relaxing or adventurous?
I’m all about relaxation. Sure, we can add a little bit of adventure to the mix, but mostly I long for time and space to recuperate and recharge. Give me a couple of days on Caribbean island and I’m set.
5. What food do you hide from your kids and sneak after they go to bed?
I don’t have kids. If I have any later, or become a stepmom at some point, I’m not quite sure what I’d hide from them. I don’t eat anything that I don’t recommend children eat.
6. What TV show (that is currently on) are you addicted to?
I stopped watching live TV over a year ago, and I haven’t plugged my television up since I moved in April. Because so many people have talked about Orange is the New Black, I have started watching Season 1 on Netflix. I enjoy it, but I’m not addicted. I generally spend free time reading, tweeting, or spending time with my SO.
7. What was the best book you’ve ever read?
Hmm. This is a hard one. There are lots of best books. In fact, I’m gonna just refuse to name one. Some of my favorites include:
most of the Harry Potter books,
Their Eyes Were Watching God,
The Narrative of Frederick Douglass,
The Bluest Eye,
several of the early Alex Cross novels,
The Watsons Go to Birmingham,
most Judy Blume books,
Philip Hall Likes Me, I Reckon, Maybe,
I Wish I Had a Red Dress, and
Interviewing as Qualitative Research.
As you can see, I find pleasure in all sorts of books.
8. Do you play a musical instrument? If not, what would you play if you could?
I’m a flautist. Or was. I’d love to learn piano. I took lessons for two weeks one summer and it was great.
9. What was the first and last concert you’ve been to?
Tricky. Growing up, I went to a few concerts with my parents. One stands out in particular: The Tempting Temptations and the Fabulous Four Tops at Chastain Park in Atlanta. I haven’t really been to concerts much since then. The only other one that stands out was 2 Live Crew at FAMU my freshman year. Ratchet, yes indeed.
10. What is your favorite holiday?
Growing up it was Christmas. Mainly because I loved Christmas lights and singing Christmas songs around the house. I remember shunning the commercial aspect of Christmas as early as elementary school, and I never really celebrated for religious purposes. For both of those reasons, I’m not really into holidays at all now, but I do enjoy celebrating days of personal importance. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Days like that are special, or holy to me. I have an anniversary coming up, actually. September 15th. Blue and I will celebrate one year together. That’s not significant to anyone else, but it’s important to us.
Naturopaths and nontraditional healers often mention the healing properties of sunshine. And depending on where and how we grew up, our parents and grandparents spoke of it, too. My personal relationship with the sun has always been one of respect and admiration… my mood and energy levels often mirror the brightness of the sun. So it pleases me whenever “traditional” research makes linkages between sunshine and good health.
As one in a growing number of women who live with uterine fibroids, I’m interested in understanding their causes. Like many complex questions, the more we understand about the genesis of a thing, the more we can do to heal it and prevent it.
Are you a people person? Do you feel energized or drained around people?
I’m an introvert. This means I get energized (or re-energized) when I have alone time. Solitude. But this does not mean I’m not a people person, because I am. I’m a teacher and I love it. I’m a spiritual coach and I love that. I like hanging with friends when our schedules and locations coincide. But there comes a time when I get overloaded and it becomes too much.
When I can take a whole day to myself, I do. I spend the day alone exercising, reading, running errands, playing on the internet, basking in the sun, and catnapping. I call it self-care.
When I can’t take a day, I steal away as I can. Case in point. This week has been busy for me. I’ve had meetings and home visits and gatherings and just nonstop “with peopleness.” Today I reached my limit. The cacophony of noises, voices, music didn’t help matters. Although I was “on duty,” during a slow period, I was able to secret myself away in my car for about 20 minutes. It was all I needed to refresh and finish the rest of my shift in high spirits. Twenty minutes seems to be the magic number.
When I feel the overload of other people’s energy, I clear it in nature. I sit in the sun for about 20 minutes, or walk (or play) in thick green grass if any is around. I nap by the ocean or, favorite of all, sit in its salty waters. I like people just fine, but whenever I can, I also love to be with just me.
This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…
Set a timer and write for 5 minutes.
Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.