September 22, 2010

lazy backpacker

I'm prepping for another backpacking trip -possibly the last one this year :( For being too fond of reclining on my sit-me-down-upon* I'm constantly dreaming of unseen peaks and sunsets. I have a hard time getting all my laundry folded, but I long to head out for a stretch of meadow I've never visited and rest my eyes on the ranged peaks encircling and stretching away beyond me. At such times I'm deeply aware of my internal conflicts and compromises. I want to be uber-housewife with a sparkling kitchen, folded laundry, and tidy shelves. In practice I'm easily distracted by books, youtube, and computer games. I strive, and I fall back. For weeks and months I'll plan and dream of some trip only to discover that in the days previous I'd really like a mug of cocoa and a cozy chair from which to enjoy the view. Unfortunately some views are only had with a bit of struggling and scrabbling, and armchairs with the views I require don't come cheap. So I go out in the woods and pretend to be strong and capable, and then I come home and realize how completely lazy I tend to be. In some ways I feel it's one of the deepest disconnects in my character - this chasm between who I suspect I am and who I would really like to pretend to be. Maybe it's just part of the human condition. I think of what Paul said. At any rate, it's once more into the breach. Every day when I find I've wasted my morning or afternoon I just have to pull myself back together and go redeem some of that time - even if it's just a couple hours. Fall down. Get back up. Trip. Sprint. Fall and bash head. Get up again. Stumble about some. Rinse repeat. It's hard to call it progress, but I suppose you could blind determination not to be a slug - not to fall back and miss all the beautiful things that are hard to get and hard to hold. Like mountain sunsets.

(Although if my hiking actually looked anything like that I think I'd stay home. A bashed head ten miles into the backcountry ain't fun. Also, I really hope it's not too cold.)

Dorothy Sayers was in many ways a brilliant author.

September 15, 2010

not thinking things through

I keep feeling the need to write, to think, and to be be introspective about this whirlwind we call life. Well, I call it a whirlwind, but sometimes it seems more like one of those hills you see around here - all smooth and grass-covered. Lovely to look at on a drive up 280 but pretty boring after you've been sitting on one for a couple of hours. I look at all the tree a few times, count the ants running around a log, and decide to keep hiking 'cause I've already taken a nap and am getting pretty antsy myself. Extended descriptions aside, whether life is currently a maddening torrent or a particularly boring stretch of lazy river I like to think about what I'm doing. Lately though most of my thoughts have run more like this:

You know I really feel like I could say something about (marriage, dating, the academic elite, women in society, Dorothy Sayers, etc), but [sitting down to write a blog post] here's this implication and that implication. I really don't know enough to be writing about this.

Then I go check my e-mail again and never put in the work to sort out my thoughts on (virtual) paper. In the end I suppose that's another form of laziness. I want to have a considered life, but I don't want to put in the effort. When I do feel like putting in the effort I'm often off doing something else. So that's why I haven't been writing anything very much to the point. Also, I'm tired. My sleep cycles are completely out of whack right now, and no amount of supplements can compensate for that. Hopefully this is just another temporary dip in the search for a healthy equilibrium, but until then I'm just having to ride it out.

September 8, 2010

Lassen Volcano

Allen and I spent Labor Day over at Lassen Volcanic National Park. It's a really lovely place to visit. Maybe it's just that I was tired, but the park didn't feel as fast paced as some of the other parks I've visited. We didn't spend every hour of the day trying to see everything we could see, and we both had a really good time. We even took some time out to just lie in the hammocks reading. Still, we did a fair bit. Sunday we hiked seven miles, and read for two hours before heading back to the tent for some tortellini soup and a sip of whiskey around the campfire. There's a trail around Manzanita Lake at the base of Lassen Peak that we took both evenings we were there. It's a pleasant little two mile stroll with what are probably the best views of Lassen Peak at sunset. The alpen glow was pretty fantastic the second night in particular. I don't know that I've ever seen a mountain turn that particular shade of pink. Unfortunately I'd left my camera back at the campsite that evening and don't have a picture.

During our hikes Allen and I got to reconnect somewhat and discuss the coming months. We're going to try and introduce some basic routines into our schedules and make more space for productivity and real relaxation. Of course I'm writing this while I should be in bed. What can I say? There was a reason we needed to discuss this stuff. Of course we also talked about fun stuff - like comparing Vanity Fair to Wives and Daughters and Wives and Daughters to Mansfield Park. We really do have the best conversations when we allow time for them to ripen. Aside from literature we tackled race and class in American society and the significance of language. There's a reason we married each other. We were only the only two left chattering after everyone else had gone back to the football game. You laugh, but that did happen on more than one occasion while we were getting to know each other :)

Overall we had a very good trip, and I'm hoping to carry some of that momentum forward into Fall. It's going to get rather busy between now and Epiphany, and I'd like to be ready for it if I can.

September 2, 2010

note to self

When the doc gives you something (in my case a supplement) and says "here, this will even out your brain chemistry and help you feel more motivated" don't forget to take it (or fail to be motivated to take it) and then wonder why you aren't getting anything done. Who cares if it smells bad, and you're feeling particularly lethargic. Take the sassafrassing supplements! You'll feel human again!

Seriously, I feel like I finally woke up this week. Dopatone, you are my stinky but beloved friend.