Yesterday I got an email from a friend in which she commented that she was glad I was able to do my nesting stuff—bake cookies and bread, make soup, and that kind of stuff. These were things that I was looking forward to doing once we settled back down after our summer on the road. Reading her email, I was struck by the thought that I am really a seasonal creature. This is the time of year when my nesting self comes vaulting to the forefront and I eagerly look forward to days spent doing that kind of domestic stuff. This fall I am aided in these activities by the great farmers that appear at the market not far from our house three times a week. They offer great and varied produce at good prices and the opportunity to talk to the people that grow the food. There is something very satisfying about smelling a crock pot full of soup and bread in the oven. And beyond that, there is nothing more wonderful to me than sitting in a comfortable spot on a winter day with a big mug of hot, strong, black tea, a good book, and a crochet project. I live for those times. And every year sometime in September, I feel myself starting to crave those days. The leaves turn and my attention turns with them.
I am not really sure what exactly makes it so different. The fact is, whether it is December or April, I can be found with a big mug of hot, strong, black tea, a book and a crochet hook. But it's different. It feels different. By April, I getting restless. I usually get depressed in April because I know what's coming—summer. I feel lethargic instead of energized as I do in winter. Cooking and baking sometimes seem like chores I would rather not have to do. I feel myself getting agitated. The whole vibe of my life is completely different.
As I think back on our summer on the road, I can see how this works. It was a good summer. I usually do not use the words “good” and “summer” in the same sentence. Usually summer is a season to be endured. I grit my teeth in April and start counting down the days until it is over. Literally. Oh, I would do stuff, of course, but underlying everything was a sense of unease. I found it hard to ever feel relaxed or peaceful. That's part of the reason why the fall and winter months are so important to me—that is when I relax and try to save as much of it as I can for summer when I would typically feel the constant hum of agitation vibrating under everything. But this summer, that wasn't really there. I can't honestly say that I love summer. But I was on the road, exploring new places, living outside, and, as I see now, generally doing summerish things.
I always feel restless starting in the spring in the same way I start feeling the need to nest in the winter. I feel like I will jump out of my skin. And this summer, instead of enduring, I moved. I was often uncomfortable because it was too hot. There was no fan or air conditioner to take the edge off the heat when it was close to 100 degrees in Spokane and we had a tent site at a campground with no shade. It was not pleasant. I didn't like it. But I was not humming with agitation. It simply was what it was. It was summer. It was not my favorite time of the year. But summer is hot and sunny and that's the way it is. I had reached a place of acceptance. Maybe I would have felt it anyway, even if I had not left Klamath Falls and embarked on this trip, for no other reason than I am not the same person I used to be. I have worked hard at maintaining an attitude of acceptance and non-attachment. But I really think that a big part of it was me paying attention to what I needed. I was restless and I moved instead of hunkering down in front of a fan and waiting for the misery to pass. By the end of the trip, I was looking forward to settling in and making soup. In April, I expect I will be jumpy again. So I need to pay attention to that and live with the seasons. Whatever the reason, I was very grateful to be having a different kind of summer. And now I am grateful to be making soup.