It's another gloomy day in a gloomy fall week, and my mood tends toward the melancholy, though not necessarily in an unpleasant way. I gaze out my study window to my rain-slick back porch, where I spent many a hot, sunny summer's day, and grilled many a delicious summer dinner this year. Some of the plants are looking a little wither-y, though the marigolds still speak in tones of yellow and orange, and the trumpet vine has decided it's a good time to bloom, as well. Soon I'll have to face dumping out the window boxes, pulling up the backyard tomato plants (planted late, still producing), and closing up the trailer at the lake.
Here's how I spent some of my summer vacation:
This is the trailer at the lake that I co-own with my friend (and current housemate) Cheryl. An AA friend and I built this deck in late July. I spent many days here, reading, writing, sitting on the beach. We've paid our rent for next year, so come see us then!
What I've been thinking a lot about lately is my yoga. I belong to a studio here in town, and take classes 4 times a week. I've found two teachers that I really, really like; one teaches Iyengar-style, and the other a simple, gentle hatha. I've tried various levels of vinyasa (flow) classes, but simply can't bear it. It's not that I mind moving, but I want to flow at my own speed, in my own style, and so my sun salutes get done at home, if at all. But I spent my summer days in Buffalo going to classes, to AA meetings, and riding my bicycle to both meetings and classes. Being on the bike kept me feeling young, as I rode my bike in college all the time, didn't have a car, was riding even through snow at -22F sometimes. That was 'way back in the day, in my late teens and early 20s (wait--how did that get to be 40+ years ago??). Now I have the luxury of only riding when the weather's nice, and I relish it. I've even been known to load all 3 of my baskets full of groceries (front basket & 2 side panniers), and cautiously ride home. Fun!
But yes, yoga. My teacher Julia has helped me to love my body, to remember that joy is an internal experience that I can learn to access whenever I want, not something imposed or accessed by external means. If I've felt any emotion, it's in there somewhere, just waiting to be felt again. My body speaks to me these days, telling me what it needs and doesn't, what kinds of work it enjoys and what it doesn't, which kinds of movement are beneficial and which ones aren't. There aren't words, of course, but it's beyond and beneath words. I sometimes use words back in this dialogue with my body, though (not out loud), because I'm a word creature. I can express love and gratitude and nurturing toward my body. I love having that relationship. It makes me feel like a more whole person, and I think that's probably partly what yoga's all about -- not fitness or stress reduction, or those other fairly superficial things -- but about being strong, joyful and complete, and taking that feeling, that condition, into the world as a gift, so that others can also feel more joyful and complete. I believe the mood and attitude that I bring into the world contributes to (or detracts from) how the world feels. My wish is to keep improving what I bring and give to the world, but it's a really long and imperfect process.
Things are busier in the fall in Buffalo. Summertime is for having fun, for going to the water and doing things outside: walking, bicycling, going to concerts, eating on porch or restaurant patio, gardening. In the fall the "season" (fall/winter season) begins: museums, lectures, galleries, classes. I belong to three arts/cultural organizations: Just Buffalo Literary Center, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (with cross-membership at the Burchfield-Penney Art Museum), and the Analytical Psychology Society (Jung Center). I love attending exhibits, lectures, and workshops, and currently attend a writing workshop at Just Buffalo, and a Women's Study Group and a Red Book Study Group at APS. Buffalo is full of activities that feel my mind, heart, and soul.
I also serve a lovely church in the Parkside Community neighborhood of Buffalo (close enough to ride my bike, when it's nice weather). The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd is a little jewel box of a church, with Tiffany stained glass windows, a lovely music program, and a wonderful community of people. I'm their temporary priest (they call me "extended supply," meaning I'll serve them regularly until they hire a permanent priest). It's lovely being there with them 2 days a week or so. I also do a small Sunday afternoon service at Canterbury Woods Retirement Community, and every-other week I serve the Church of the Ascension at Good Shepherd. Sunday is my busiest work day, but I love it.
Whew! Writing all this reminds me of how full and rich my life is right now. I am a lucky, lucky woman. But it makes me a little tired, too. Think I'll go upstairs and lie down on my yoga mat.