This isn’t the post I’d planned for today, and you could blame the weather.
It stopped raining long enough over the weekend that I weeded the garden. And then it rained again, hard and cold. I fired up the woodstoves both in my studio and the house, and cooked hearty soups while the spring greens in the garden shivered.
The rain and cold drenched Ruth and Ian, who have reached Vermont on the Appalachian Trail and were planning to visit tomorrow for a few days of food, laundry, and showers. But they called this morning, saying the trail was a stream and they were cold and wet to the bone. Could I rescue them?
Of course I could. So you could blame the weather for this disruption to my work routine. Instead of writing this morning, I drove to Woodford and fetched the soggy hikers, brought them home, fed them, and listened to stories of the thousand miles they’ve hiked since I saw them last.
The sun is shining today, and you could blame this fair weather for luring me outside to mulch the garden, which needed doing, as much as I needed to soak up some sun.
But that wouldn’t be quite fair to the weather. I walked in the rain. I read by the fire. And I attended meetings in yesterday’s downpour.
Yesterday morning, I served as a “compassionate witness” to six women completing a retreat at The Warrior Connection, a remarkable event that touched me deeply. I’m still processing what I learned and what I witnessed. I feel a post coming on, so I’m sure you’ll read more about it here.
After lunch, I drove my 92-year-old dad to his semi-annual visit to his primary care physician at the VA. This is as much of a social visit as it is a medical one. Dad’s cardiac condition has been stable since his by-pass surgery in 1996. And there’s nothing more he’s willing to do about his hearing loss, impaired vision, or the intermittent pain in his leg. He enjoys visiting the doctor, who tells him to walk with his ski poles for better stability.
I squeezed in grocery shopping between the medical appointment and a board meeting for the Brattleboro Community Justice Center, which I chair. This is not just a remarkable organization doing great work in the world. The board itself is a group of smart, gentle people committed to bringing the peaceful resolution of conflict in our community through restorative practices.
We’ve only been working under our new by-laws since last November. In this short time, this group has revolutionized how we do business, from the check-in with which we begin the meeting to the closing ceremony at the end of business. In between, we work our way through our agenda of reports and decisions, always operating by consensus.
Yesterday, the two major items were board recruitment and educational outreach. Both discussions brought us to greater clarity about how we want to accomplish our mission “To empower citizens to maintain community well-being using Restorative Justice principles, practice and programs.”
So really, it’s the emotional overload of yesterday’s activities that made it difficult to sit at my desk, not the weather. It was the need to sift through all the feelings about the ubiquity of female sexual abuse in the civilian world and how it’s only worse in the military; it was about witnessing my father’s world shrinking in so many ways, and marveling at how congenially he accepts his limitations; and it was about enormous gratitude for the others who serve on the BCJC board. I’m touched by their deep commitment to thorough process, for their enormous compassion for others, for how they walk the talk of peaceful resolution of conflict, and for how we’re able to take our different ideas and perspectives and create something larger than any one of us.
The weather simply allowed me to do one of the things that helps me sift feelings best: I worked in the garden, pulling more weeds and laying down mulch. I felt the welcome heat of sun on my back. The impressions and emotions of the previous day organized in my mind as I grounded myself in the warm earth.
So I could blame the weather for this post. Or I could thank it.
Today is a day of great gratitude for living in place.
What are you grateful for today?