Yesterday, we had a wonderful day skiing at a little, family mountain in northern Maine, Big Rock. It was warm and sunny and I skied better than I ever have. It was the way I would want to start this "stay-cation". It's been a long winter, my Maineiacheart has been troubled by the political landscape, and I have been fairly busy, for me, at work. The adage, "Parents, put your oxygen masks on before first before assisting your children," is apt. You can't be sharp if you are worn down. Therefore, though it costs me (I am self-employed and have no paid vacation leave), I decided to take the week to myself.
On the way to skiing, we passed the viewing spots for Maine's icon, Mt. Katahdin. It's an unusual mountain, in that it rises abruptly from fairly level ground. There are a few smaller mountains to its north and west, but it is basically alone, with a long summit, snow-clad top. I decided that I would use the next day to drive up north of it and just enjoy empty roads and woods. I brought the dogs, so they wouldn't be penned inside all day.
First stop was Ash Hill in Patten.
Standing, camera in hand, feeling small in relation to all that was around me, I could relax, submit to this giant beauty. So much of my days, lately, seem to be wrought with frustration and fear, embarrassment and worry. I keep railing at the political reality we are in and there is no relief. I cannot control the fact that the people of my country, people I actually care about, put a rube into leadership of the most economic and militarily powerful country in the world. I track all the misdeeds as if by staying on top of all of it, I might prevent some catastrophe. As if by knowing everything that is happening will prevent the cancer from spreading. Talk about dreams of grandiosity. This song's chorus rings true to my psyche, right now, but it is wrecking me.
Buddhist say that clinging is the root of unhappiness, and they are right. I am not just clinging. I am screaming and muckling on and wasting so much energy trying to rein in the forces at play. It is clear that I want to find a way to stay engage, awake, and active but I don't want that effort overtake me as it is doing. This is a marathon. This is climbing Mt. Everest. It is important to know when to move, when to conserve energy, and when to pack it in.
Patten and Sherman, Maine have an Amish community. Occasionally, as I made my way north and west on Rt. 11, I passed clotheslines flapping with primary-colored shirts and dresses and buggies with their horses. This is ideal country for them. The land is inexpensive, the communities are relatively conservative, and the Amish can be left alone to live as they desire.
Out here, in this expanse of wilderness, I am stilled. My breath slows. My cheeks chill with the wind. I am present. All that chaos and neurosis fall away. I am reminded that this is what gives me the energy to go forward.
As I continued down Rt. 159, the calm remained. I am grateful for making something of this day. There's a little more fuel in my tank.