Forced Stillness

Traveling. Going from one place to another. To wander, roam, rove, journey. As I sit in the passenger seat after three long days of being on the road, the act of traveling feels less of an explorative journey than a chore. Long hours of sitting in uncomfortable positions, boredom, fatigue. My mind and body are restless, wanting to fast forward to the next. I am resisting the process, denying myself the needed stillness to process the last six months and prepare for the next.

From November to April, we remodeled a condo, an 1,800 square foot house, a full bathroom and re-roofed a shed. These projects were in addition to buying, flipping and putting a house on the market in Knoxville. And we honestly wondered what we would be doing for the winter in Tennessee aside from reconnecting with our families. The increasing busyness makes the stillness more needed, but also more uncomfortable.

The season ahead will be equally busy. Jordan and I are both working for Northwest Mountain School in Leavenworth. While our plan had originally been to travel to Alaska this summer, we are seizing an opportunity to work with a well established and professional outdoor guiding company. Jordan will further his guiding repertoire with gaining more experience as well as extending his accreditations with American Mountain Guide Association courses. I have been hired as the logistics coordinator/office administrator to handle guide and client communication, bookings, scheduling, and overall day-to-day tasks; it is an enviable office position for Leavenworth.

At the crossroads of one season to the next, it is important for us to recharge. Nature is our best medicine and a quick trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness helps to soothe the soul. Our paddles rhythmically stroke the water, the wind whips fresh air, the loons bob and dive deep. New perspectives. Forced stillness. The full moon pronounces itself into the sky as the sun sets in the west. Watching the fire dance as the birds sing, nature’s theatrics. The trip rejuvenates our weariness. Breath expands more deeply in our lungs.

In the last two years, we have adopted a more temporal perspective to life. The burdensome stress of facing long-term decisions has been dispelled with the realization that each decision we make is a stepping stone. We can trust in the promptings and urgings to walk steadily toward the bigger reality that we cannot yet see. Answers come incrementally.

In the stillness of this 3,000 mile passage, I am slowly finding peace, contentedness, patience and an appreciation for the gift of settling into the process.