Riding the ferry to Ocracoke Island
We just returned from a week on the Outer Banks, the barrier islands of the North Carolina coast. It was no ordinary summer-time beach week, but rather a quieter, cool weather time. We had one glorious beach day when the sun shone brightly, and the kids swam in the ocean all afternoon. The water was still plenty warm and inviting, though I only ventured to knee-depth. Then the winds crept up and did not lay down for the rest of our stay. We had clouds and rain, as well. I was thankful for the hot tub that came with our beach rental. It made a world of difference when exploring the windy seashore, knowing that a steaming tub was waiting at the end of the day. I loved to watch the kids fill their time with adventures of their own making. The history of the islands and the lost colony, the mysteries of the native people and the little knowledge that we have of their cultures, the pirate lore, the wild horses (descendants of the horses of early Spanish explorations), the natural habitat and the island culture of fishermen and surfers... these were all elements that wove their way into the children's curiosity and play.
Vacation time always makes me search for ways to bring more of that beautiful awareness of the present moment. When I am away from everyday life, I feel my thinking deepen and I can envision more clearly what I want, who I am. My challenge is finding a way to get to that deeper state of awareness, and yet maintain the busy life that we live with some amount of grace! I think meditation is one way to hold a space for contemplation, and I would like to carve a space for it in my day. And simplifying, is the ever-challenging task that I work towards. I think having and caring for too much material stuff can really waste time and energy, in a most unnecessary way. Rhythm, rituals (such as lighting a candle for a family meal) and spending time every day out in nature, these things all bring connection for me as well. I would love to hear others' thoughts on how to make life more nurturing on a daily basis, please feel free to post your comments!