As I am collecting our far-flung possessions to pack for the antepenultimate time (how often do you get a chance to use that word?) — for the trip from Edinburgh to London, I am trying to collect my thoughts, as well. As I indicated in a recent blog, I have not – so far, at least – experienced the transformative spiritual moment that will shortly (or even longly) turn me into the new Mother Teresa. [Okay, maybe it was a little much to expect in four months.] While I am not going home exactly the same person I was when I left Colorado, the wisdom I have garnered has tended toward the less cosmic end of the continuum, but there may be some useful nuggets for some of you, so here is a first pass at what I may be bringing back to Denver.
If you are going to ignore the calorie counting for four months, you might as well go with clotted cream on your scones rather than settle for whipped cream.
You will have just passed the cheapest place to buy petrol for 100 miles when your beloved says, “We should probably think about filling up the car.” You should breathe deeply before responding.
The properly driven rotary (roundabout) – and everyone on the road knows how to drive through a rotary here – is one of the best traffic control devices to spring full-blown from the mind of the universe or whoever’s mind it sprang from. It is simpler and better and safer and faster and more polite than any possible combination of traffic lights, stop signs, and police officers. And once you have driven a few, you will discover that they are a perfect metaphor for a non-anxious life…a kind of effortless Golden Rule.
Whoever invented the British shower should have all his inventing tools taken away from him before he does any more damage. Using one, however, is an exercise in the zen of non-attachment. You cannot be attached to getting clean, getting the soap out of your hair, or keeping the water in the tub.
Finding a stone circle in the back of beyond takes as much spiritual and physical energy as building one in the first place. In fact, it may actually take more. Because if you build your own, you will always know where it is and never need to go hunting for it.
Age is relative. An ‘old’ church in New England is 350 years old. An ‘old’ church in Iowa is 175 years old. An ‘old’ church in Colorado is 100 years old. An ‘old’ church in Scotland or England is 900 years old. This puts my own age in proper perspective.
I have a limited and idiosyncratic attention span. I am not the infinitely patient Renaissance saint I would like to imagine myself being. I prefer to think of myself as someone with insatiable curiosity and a hunger for any and all knowledge, but the fact is that about 20 minutes into one of those self-led audio tours with the little speaking paddles, I want to drop the little audio paddle down a very deep hole (along with all the signs that say, “For conservation reasons, we ask our visitors to please stop breathing dust motes on our precious marble floors.”)
This may not be a lot to show for three months and eight days of living out of one and a half suitcases, but Martha Beck tells me that the bigger the task, the smaller the steps need to be. (I have also learned that this applies to climbing steep paths: the steeper the path, the smaller your steps need to be to keep from running out of breath. It may not be cosmic, but it works.)
Text © 2015, Andrea La Sonde Anastos
Photos © 2015 Immram Chara, LLC