Been There. Done That.

I’ve been at this awhile now – this seeking beautiful things in August.

I typed peaches into my search browser on this site and the first hit is a post from 2015.

I’ve observed the sights and smells of summer before.

I’ve been moved by the bounty appearing on my counter tops – harvested fresh from farmers fields nearby and tiny pots warming on my porch.

I wrote about the peach lady here and encounters with fresh produce here.

I’ve written about my gardens here and lessons from tomatoes here and my appreciation for nature and growth of flowers and trees and the promises of soil here.

It’s happened again. The days turned into months and with each sleep came seasons unfurling in my same lap – the one often longing for something different. As if repetition means stagnant and recurring inspiration means I’ve missed some big opportunity.

Sometimes I catch myself dreaming of other lives I could be living. An urban woman in black pencil skirt, taking the subway to a publishing house – her fancy heels tucked in an expensive black shoulder bag. The J-Crew dressed scholar with tiny-framed glasses burrowed in a dimly lit library while working on a masters degree in something world changing. A mother tending to toddlers with curls, wishing her hair was washed and her stretchy yoga pants were freshly laundered. The REI-outfitted adventurer with worn hiking boots and tales of sleeping in hostiles and fighting off flirtatious men in Europe.

Maybe some day those visions will come true.

For now, I lift up my head and turn the calendar page for here it is – August again – and I sit, still me, with clean hair up and my square-framed glasses I should be wearing buried in the trusty, worn Timbuktu bag resting behind the desk chair I used in college.

Yesterday, we went to the farmers market and picked a bag full of bright orange carrots, crisp green peppers, a cantaloupe, and stone-sized potatoes still grimy with dirt.

Today, we drove home on the busy highway and pulled over to visit a bright yellow awning with fruit the size of baseballs ready to be bought. I wrote a check and handed it to  the teenage boy who only briefly nodded when I said I get excited to come get my peaches every year.

On Sunday, we went for a bike ride at dusk on the familiar trail near our house. Cool breezes from the river nearby lapped at my face as I peddled along, long grasses licking at my ankles.

The carrots and corn are still growing. Peaches wait to be picked.

I’ve got a pallet of luscious fruit wafting on my counter top begging to be doused in ice cream. Dusk still falls with purple and orange and the cool breeze waits to kiss my cheeks when I pass by on a bicycle.

Yes, I’ve been here and done these things before.

With all the chaos out there I’m reminded, in this moment, I don’t need anything more.

What a beautiful thing.

It Doesn’t Ask for Our Attention

I’ll admit it. I’m crabby. I am feeling really frustrated about insurance, and cars and claims, and deductibles, and how life costs money. When I’m crabby, it’s hard to focus my attention on the beautiful in life. However, if there is anything this journey this year has taught me, the search for beauty is a choice, one we get to select over and over again. So here I go, choosing it.

This week we watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Did you see it? I think it got mixed reviews – maybe three out of five stars. I can see why it wasn’t blowing reviewers socks off as the story line was a little slow, and there was not a lot of plot development. However, I found the main message, or at least my interpretation of it, to be a beautiful thing.
I think our culture does a fabulous job of telling us each day that the ordinary is just not enough. We go to our jobs, are frustrated with our bosses, and are told to be quiet or squash our ambitions for fearful reasons. This is where I love the character of Walter. He’s quiet, he’s reserved, and to others, somewhat odd, but he has these great moments of daydreams that he keeps to himself. I can so relate. Maybe it’s an introvert thing. Walter spends time imagining how he would react to situations in wonderful ways even when the mundane, the frustrating, the obnoxious all creep in. He spends too much time beating himself up because he hasn’t done anything noteworthy by his own definition which heck, don’t we all do. Maybe you don’t; I do.

Then, however, through a series of events Walter gets some courage and goes on an adventure seeking a solution to his work woes – climbs a mountain, beats up a shark, sees a volcano erupt – all to return to the fact that the thing he was seeking was right in front of his own eyes. The best part is that Walter’s own hero actually views Walter’s contributions to life as extraordinary. I can’t fully explain it, not really, how beautiful it is to be reminded that your contributions are enough. That maybe self fulfillment can come to you in the mountains of the Himalayas, or by moving across the country, or taking huge risks. Or maybe, instead, self fulfillment can come in the reminder  that the key to my being enough is saying, “Hey, you are ok. Your contributions matter”. Perhaps I have more answers in my own pocket than I could ever find in the great “out there”.

Walter’s hero says a line in the movie that I had to write down, “Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.” Isn’t that true. Things are beautiful just because they are, because I slow down to appreciate them, because they are in our backyards, on our toes, near my desk chair, in movies that I watch on a Sunday night. The ordinary can be extraordinary if we let it. See the movie. It’s great.
I found two other small nuggets of beauty this week. The first is fruit.
Peaches from the Western Slope

Peaches from the Western Slope

Each year my parents buy big boxes of fresh peaches from a lady who comes up from the Western Slope and sells the flats of fruit out of the back of her van. I count down to August because these juicy treats are to die for. I was at my parent’s house last night and stood over the sink eating the yummy fruit with juice dripping all over my face and hands. I intended to slice it up, but one bite in and all the sudden there is no time. So delicious. I can’t wait to bake them in puff pastry and eat them with vanilla ice cream, or put them in a smoothie, or commit to standing in front of the sink each morning eating a peach for breakfast. I will have to adjust my morning routine accordingly.
And this guy – check out this sweet older gentleman who refused to let a physical disability and age hold him back. I know nothing about him except that his epic dance moves have gone viral. I love the video, I love his attitude, I love his choice in this moment.

Thanks for letting me rant and rave and focus on a few good things. I feel better already. What is in your life that feels ordinary, but maybe, just maybe has a glimpse of extraordinary? Do you like summer fruit?