10 Responses

  1. Kelly Huffman
    Kelly Huffman at |

    Hi Colleen,
    I saw your story about the Quebec cycling trip in Adventure Cyclist online and loved it. It led me here, to your lovely blog. Thank you for this piece.
    I’m a long-distance cyclist, currently on Quadra Island and just setting out on an open-ended trip. I’ve been amazed at how the old mindset (I “should” be doing X, Y or Z — anything other than what I’m actually doing now) continually crops up.
    But I’m learning to take the days as they come, and trusting that I, too, will learn the balance that Joan — and you — are modeling.
    So glad to have found you online!

  2. Mary Ediger
    Mary Ediger at |

    Beautiful wonderful words.

  3. Lynda
    Lynda at |

    You’ve triggered a number of memories, Colleen.

    First, as a fellow Menno, I’m sure that you can appreciate that a bath is (or used to be) a job. And back in the day before hot water and reliant on a well, that meant a few minutes to scrub in a galvanized tub before the next (dirtier) bather and another pot of hot water was thrown in. Still, the tub was a step up from the chilly rinse water saved from the morning’s laundry and hopping up on the counter to dangle my skinny legs into the sink.

    At age 19 I had a roommate during a conference who said she was going to take a bath. What? On a Thursday? Then she turned down the lights, languished and splashed in there for more than an hour! She made lovely little splashing sounds that I can hear to this day. Before that, all I’d ever heard from the tub was that sound a butt makes while moving around the bottom. I don’t think there is an English word for that, but there ought to be. The German rutch, however, does it quite admirably.

    Your post also reminded me of Joseph Campbell’s memoir (and with all my books currently in storage I can’t verify the title as many of his books contained stories from his life). During the Depression he lived in a small cabin with a chair out front. There he would read all day–Spinoza and other philosophers. He described how his neighbor drove by in the early morning and returned in the evening to see him still sitting in the same chair reading, without any idea that this was work of the noblest kind.

    Out of necessity I have become the Queen of Self Care. It’s a glorious Kingdom once you find your way around the numerous indulgences from stolen moments measured in seconds to hours which seem like seconds.

    Let’s rewrite the old blues tune. Let’s change it to “Hello, morning. Sit down.”

  4. Gwen Morrison
    Gwen Morrison at |

    So awesome that you remember that encounter with Joan. Obviously she left some kind of impression! As I read your words, I can feel how it must have shifted for you. Who you are today is SO far from that person who “hit the ground running.” Maybe it was that pace of life that primed you for these years of choosing? Surely they helped you to know what it is you don’t want to do with these days we are gifted? If so, good.

    I’m not sure why it’s so hard for a person to read in the afternoon. I have a dear friend who is mortified with the idea that a person could sit on the couch in the light of day and read. A book. Something that gives you pleasure when you’re “supposed” to be doing another thing that is surely more productive than… reading in the daylight hours.

    There’s a balance, for sure. We all have bills to pay and responsibilities (I’m sure you’ve heard,) but we also have this wonderful thing called “choice.” We can plan the plan that gives us, well, even one afternoon where we crack open a book and we read. Or soak in a hot bath with classical music floating through the steamy air.

    Good for you that you accept all of it. No apologies needed. We are often so tied to the idea that doing more is being more. What a farce that is!

    Enjoyed your post very much.

    Now I think I’ll fill the tub and light some candles and just breathe.


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