Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Trip to Contentment

I just got back from a five-day trip up to the Northwoods of Wisconsin. We "opened" the lake house for the summer (though the furnace is still on), we launched the boat (wearing coats) and went to a flea market, where, at long last, I purchased a set of SHAMWOW's. Fortunately we headed back home before I could try them out cleaning anything.

In years past, once I would get up there to our little house in the woods on the lake, I did NOT want to come back home. It's quiet, peaceful and the view is superb. The eagles swoop down in the bay to catch fish, the deer romp thru the woods and thru our yard, and the loons mesmerizing call fills the pine scented air. I can sit on our porch and look at the lake for hours doing absolutely nothing. Leave all this to come home? Home to traffic and traffic noise, home to suburbia that feels like an expensive ghetto for lack of space, home to routines, day timers, meetings and "busy". I felt chained here. Up north I felt loose and free.

This year not so much. Things have shifted a bit. It's all mental. Nothing is really different except my attitude. And my garden. And my blog.

I planted a vegetable garden for the first time in 15 years - tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and herbs mostly. I couldn't wait to get back home to see if my bunny fence worked and if the plants grew - it did, and the plants grew several inches. Far from any harvest, I'm still gleeful at the prospect and as enthused as a child at the circus over this silly garden.

Up north I have no access to high speed internet at our house. Not yet anyway. I thought surely I could be away for a few days and it would be no big deal. By day three, I had such computer withdrawl I almost packed up. I knew my email would be filled with blogs I subscribe to, I was missing seeing the comments on mine, and making comments on others. I believe there is a scientific, psychological, physical word for this.........addiction?

Whatever. The shift for me is that I always wanted to get away from home and escape up north, feeling I could never be happy here, not totally, because I always wanted to be there. I felt chained here, imprisoned. And the more I thought about it (guess what?) the more strongly I felt it. Not only do I have to smack myself for not enjoying my present moment (wherever the heck I am) but I also have to congratulate myself on making a committment to the garden and blogosphere that have meaning for me - my keys to contentment. Yes I want to go back up north in July (we may have internet there then), but I'll also want to come back home.

So we're driving our 6 hour trip home today and doing our usual excellent road trip past-time, singing along with our favorite CD's and along comes The Eagles. I don't know if you like them, or have really listened to the lyrics, but I think they have profound messages in their songs. Our favorite, which we played several times, is "Already Gone". (I put it on here to pep up your day!)

One line of this song hit me today.

"We live our lives in chains....and we never even know we have the keys"

We have the keys.


  1. I think you are right, addiction is the right word. Society tends to treat addiction as if it's something uncommon and catastrophic, but I think we all suffer from addictions, great and small. They don't always destroy our lives, but they do shape them and it helps to be aware of what has a strong pull on us.

    I am, without a doubt, dependent upon my computer and internet connection. I can't imagine not checking on my blog for a week. I know it wouldn't destroy me to be away from it, but I'd have to constantly be returning my attention to where I am.

  2. I prefer to think of it as a healthy passion rather than as an addiction. ;)

  3. Hi David! There really are some addictions that are good, aren't there? You're absolutely right and thanks for pointing that out. Yeah, I don't think I'll be planning to stay up north for weeks at a time without internet. It will hopefully be up and running by July!

    Jean - Nice choice of words, thank you! It sounds pleasant and sober!

  4. I love the Eagles,they're on my Mp3 (yeah...I have no Ipod...yet!)and I listen to them when I walk, along with Three Dog Night, the Beatles and James Taylor!

    And you're right! The computer is another of my addictions!

  5. Hi Suzen,
    The Wisconsin northwoods are a draw for many! In fact, we have a trip planned for a few day over Independence Day to spend at a cottage on a lake in these northwoods. We were last up there over new year's - and it was peaceful - and will be agian - I know - in July as well.

    That said - I can completely relate to missing things back home (like the computer). And I don't think it's the computer as much as it's the connection I feel from where it can take me - and who it brings my way. A healthy passion - I LIKE that - nice choice of words Jean!

    Enjoy it all Suzen - the travels north, the garden, the computer - home (wherever you happen to be...)

  6. Debbie - Love your walking companions. Nothin' like good classic rock n roll!

    Lance - Yes that Northwoods really is a draw. We've been going up there for 30 years. Where is the cabin you go to? We're up in Eagle River. And of course you are right about the connected feeling the computer brings us. When my son was in Iraq I wouldn't go up there, lest I miss an email or the chance to IM.