Road Trip Day 5 – Ohio, the state with 3 C cities

My friend moved to Ohio a couple of years ago. She told me which city she lives in, but never gave me her address. We’d been texting back and forth about me stopping by for a short visit on this trip, and were both excited! So, last night I was updating her with my plans, after I had booked a place to stay in Cleveland. Well….turns out, she lives in Cincinatti! I laughed at myself so hard, and laughed even more when I looked back at my texts that clearly say that’s where she lives!

I decided that I wanted to go to Cleveland anyway, to see Lake Erie. So this morning I got up really early, hit the road while it was still dark. Brought back some of my best childhood memories. My parents would pack up the family station wagon, the rented Uhaul, the cartop carrier that fit under the canoe, and get all us kids up and in the car along with the dog and be on the road by 5 am.

I wasn’t quite that early, but did get to her place by 10, after getting to experience a gorgeous sunrise. We chatted and caught up and took a walk and she gave me some great cookies. Then I was on my way and got to my airbnb in Cleveland by 4:30.

Cincinnati to Cleveland is about the same distance as Houston to San Antonio, but a bit more interesting. The Texas trip, which I’ve made quite a few times, is straight, flat, and just generally nothing to look at. The Ohio trip started out being kinda similar, but Columbus was along the way, breaking up the monotony, and after that, the trees were pretty with the start of fall colors

Right now I am very tired, and happy that tonight, I am sleeping in a comfortable bed in an awesome home. I have no idea what I’m going to do tomorrow!

My friend is a very private person so I’m not posting a picture with her, so here is the beautiful sunrise.

Embrace the moment!

I’ve had several memorable moments already this morning.

Waking up in the dark, the dream memory fading, savoring the nearness of my lover.

Drinking  a chocolate strawberry spinach smoothie with fresh grated nutmeg sprinkled on top.

Driving to the park while it was still dark, sparse traffic on this Saturday morning.

Walking alone on the path, runners passing me up, and timing it perfectly to catch the sunrise.

perfect sunrise

I came home and decided to take a cup of coffee down to the bench by the lake. It was still early enough not to be too hot, not 80 degrees yet. The water was quiet and calm, few birds, no people.  I watched the fish jumping, my mind wandering all over the place, and I found myself pondering something someone said at work yesterday:

“It’s Friday! One more day closer to retirement!”

It’s just a saying, and I laughed with everyone else. But really, that’s not how I want to face my life, or my days.

“This day is dragging, I can’t wait for it to be over.”  

“I can’t wait for Christmas, or my birthday, or… retirement.”

But stop, look at the moment. Maybe I’m a glass all the way full person, and I might drive other people crazy with my perpetual optimism, but why not? If you go through life waiting for something that you think will be better, you miss out on a lot of great moments.

I haven’t always thought like this. I went to a silent meditation retreat last year, and had no timepiece, no way to keep up with time. Our days were guided by gongs. I knew the schedule, knew that the gong would go off in 2 hours, but without a watch, all alone in my room, it seemed like time stood still. I purposed then to never say that the day was dragging or I wished it would be over.

I do catch myself watching the time while I’m at work,  and when I leave the building, I always feel very happy to go. But when I catch myself, I try to stop and look at the moment and embrace it. Maybe its a lull in activity. I can meditate, or find a window to look out of, or help a coworker. Maybe my phone won’t stop ringing, so I can give each caller my full attention and be polite and kind.  Maybe someone is facing hard decisions about a loved one’s medical condition and care and I can give them my full attention, guidance, and even a hug.

There are hard moments too. I have experienced personal pain, loss through death of loved ones and loss through others’ choices. These are moments that are difficult to embrace. In these moments, sometimes all we can do is accept compassion from others and know that the storm will pass and the sun will come out leaving our hearts forever changed.

Right now I confess I am counting down the days until we leave on our long awaited three week vacation, a road trip through parts of New England up to Maine and Nova Scotia. I am very excited. I have wanted this for a long time. I am marking the days on the calendar! But at the same time, I purpose to savor the moments between now and then.  There are books to read, paint to play with, sunsets to savor, walks to take, work to do, a trip to pack for, and most of all, people to love.

What moments can you appreciate today?