Scents....I kept my nose peeled over a week's time, paying attention to smells I noticed. Noting scents that evoked an emotion or a response. Trying to just be aware. Mulling over what I might write about. Some of the scents then evoked a recollection about other ones that weren't necessary for me to smell again so recently. :) So here they are! :
10. Lilac Trees
11. Potato Chips
17. Clean Dogs
19. Body Lotion
21. Perfumed Candle
22. Unscented Candle
The air is crisp, cool...clean. It's fresh, with a little snap...the kind of clean that you only get in the mountains. So clean that there's a little chill with it. Nothing that my cup of coffee and a blanket can't cure, though. I wrap myself a little bit closer to both as I sit on the porch and enjoy the sun's gradual ascent toward Heaven. I will enjoy it even more in an hour when it starts to heat things up a bit more. But I don't want to miss out on a single moment today, so I'm up early, making sure I experience all that I can before my trip is over.
I bring my cup to my face, wrapping my hands tightly around the mug. I slowly inhale the warmth and the scent of the beans along with the sweet smell of all the sugar I put in it. I stop to savor the moment. It's these little moments that refresh my mind. That provide the escape. The small details that remind me that I really should slow down more often. "Stop and smell the roses", as they say.
That's why I'm here. To get away. To escape. To try to relax just a bit. To contemplate and ponder the Universe and my place in it. To remember who I am. Or is it to forget? Whatever.
Instead of roses, I just keep noticing the breeze here. Which is alright with me. I've quite been enjoying my time here. Walking around, getting "back to nature"...another idiom that runs through my mind when I'm caught up in "the rat race" at home...I shake my head trying to stop the cliches, knowing I'll get stuck on them and go forever if I don't stop myself now. Focus. Remember? You're here for focus.
"A sure sign that you needed this trip, when you can't even focus on focusing." I mutter to myself. It's time to reset again. I close my eyes, practicing my deep breathing and relaxation techniques that I read about before I came here. Back to the fresh air....the clean breeze. Focus on being calm, enjoying the moment.
I open my eyes and look at the clouds turning to white in the sky, as the sun continues to climb. The chill is dissipating. The breeze is still fresh, but it's warming. I close my eyes again and turn my face to the warmth of the sun. I think about the past few days here and focus in on my experiences. I've spent a long time walking here, not quite sure if I'm trying to out-pace my thoughts or just tire myself out so I don't have energy to think about them. I convince myself, of course, that I'm just storing up on the outdoors before I rejoin "civilization". Another idiom.
I ponder how interested my friends will really be to hear about my trip. They never did quite understand why I would want or need to disappear for a week. Didn't really get the "retreat" concept that I tried to explain to them. They were more concerned with "WHEN will you have phone access? What do you MEAN you won't have internet?" The very thought of them not being able to lean on me all week was enough to send them into fits of whining. Only affirming that I needed to get away ASAP. Time to "recharge the batteries" so to speak.
"Jeez. You really can't turn it off, can you!", I chide myself. Back to focusing. "Really. It's not that hard. CONCENTRATE." I only have this last day, I want to just absorb as much of these moments as I can. Back to focusing on the breeze...I keep coming back to how fresh it is. But more than that...I keep noticing how it's comprised of so many different scents. Just as I used to do when I was little kid growing up in a world away from where I live now.
At any given time I can pick out a different part of the mixture of fragrances in the air. Right now there's still my coffee, but also I pick up the crisp smell of the ocean located to my left, the field of wild flowers and alf-alfa to my right. And then there's that every so often sour tinge of some poor animal that died somewhere. Luckily that one doesn't come along too often...although I enjoy it as well, simply for that little reminder that life ISN'T all flowers and such. Not that I really need it. There'll be plenty of that when I get back.
I sigh deeply, shifting in my chair a bit. It's been a pleasant week. If only a bit bittersweet, knowing that it would have an end and I'd go back to the concrete jungle and the ringing phones and crazy pace. Back to the garbage trucks and hot pavement, sweaty people pushing against each other to "win" at the end of the day. Simply thinking about it makes my heart ache to come back here already. My child self slightly imagines what it would be like to stay here forever. To run away and hide from the obligations facing me day in and day out. What if I just holed myself up here in this cabin on the mountain with the ocean and the fields? Sure...the people who I'm renting it from might get upset when I run out of money since I didn't return back to work....maybe I should have been looking for a cave on my walks...but then...imagine the smell of a bear I might have to take up residence with....probably not so clean smelling. Nor would I probably be though....I start to chuckle at the snark in my head and then realize I've wandered off in my thoughts again.
This is how the whole trip has been, really. Trying to savor each moment, each breath. Realizing that my life is just as intrusive here as it was there. Nothing is as simple as childhood, I supposed. I am more relaxed, more calm. But still just as frenzied and frenetic. It's probably the only lesson I've actually managed to realize here....no matter how much I try to slow down, I'm still always moving. A retreat is only a retreat when you get to get away from yourself.
Tomorrow I go back, this is the last day for the breeze and the air. I need to focus. Get away from myself. Just relax....focus. If only I could take the air with me, I think...maybe then I would be able to focus more....