"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do."
- S. Clemens
I haven't had many disappointments these past couple of years. Life has been a conscious effort of being present, soaking in the days as they come, and bathing in friendship.
I have had one slight bit of dissonance - a sense of longing or craving that I had a little trouble placing a finger on. I have experienced mild bouts of Camino longing. I've felt hints of missing something, but couldn't quite see it. Something small, yet important. Something pulling in a direction, about which I was unsure. I think I may have sussed it out.
Kim and I have a small river property. It's a hillside lot that truncates at a cliff above a small river here in Tennessee. Sweeney bluff. MacDuff's bluff. There are a few names that locals use, but we just call it the Buffalo. We've been neglecting the Buffalo.
Over the course of the past few weeks, I've been giving the buffalo a little love. It's been returning the favor.
Last weekend, Kim and I made our way to the Buffalo for a long weekend. Friday afternoon through Monday afternoon, the entire time spent in a spectacular spot in a wood, by a river.
Here's what I gleaned from the weekend:
I worked. I worked from the moment we arrived until the car and truck were loaded to go home. I hauled wood. I tended fire. I prepped. I cooked. I moved rocks. I procured supplies. I worked.
I played. I wore the same clothes all weekend long - tan pants, blue shirt, scarf, work boots. The cloth imbued with smoke and sweat. Yeah, I took a shower each day. Yes, I cleaned my self and washed my teeth, my hair, my face, my body. But - I played in the woods, and I wore the same clothes, and by the time we mustered to drive home, I smelled as if I might actually burst into flame - a smoldering bed of coals. I smelled of fire, but in a good way. My pants were filthy. My shirt had been soaked, dried, crusted over, and washed. I thought back to days at scout camp as a kid. I'd come home smelling of woods and dirt. I loved that feeling. Still do. I played.
I moved. I took in a Saturday morning yoga practice on the grass lawn by the river. It was dawn and dewy and dappled. I moved through the poses to the sound of river and birds waking. I took in a Sunday morning practice at the same spot, same time, same birds, same river. I moved through a series of restorative poses that evening on the decked floor of our camp house. Monday, upon getting home and distributing clothes, plates, food, and supplies to their respective spots, I paced through another round of restorative poses - having moved about five hundred pounds of stone over the weekend.
I sat. After each series of poses, I sat by the river. Mind cleared, mostly. Thinking occasionally of Siddhartha, the ferryman version.
“... the river is everywhere at once, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the rapids, in the sea, in the mountains, everywhere at once, and that there is only the present time for it, not the shadow of the past, not the shadow of the future.”
- H. Hess
How does one craft a life? A life of adventure? A life of interest? A life of comfort? I have a notion that the starting place might be to sit by the river - any river - and breathe. Yes, I worked and played and moved and sat. Yes I cooked, and hauled, and prepared. Yes I did all of these things to great joy. I also took a few minutes to just soak in that joy. How does one craft a life?