After a high of about 72 yesterday, it went down to 50 degrees last night, when I thought it was going to be 60 again. There’s not much difference between 50 and 60 now that I got a taste last week of what 27 feels like. I’d forgotten to glance at the weather channel, but I was in a hurry. I’d finished up the February Horizons Sunday and had cabin fever from being glued to my desk for 10 days straight. I went outside and set up a lean-to tent in my west woods, so I could be outside in the open, in nature with the trees. Out under the stars, where I could be “out of the box” – out of the house of full of wires and electricity and equipment. No clocks, no phones, no computers. Yes, I was in a hurry yesterday evening to set up a little camp outside so I could defrag from final layout week. Nothing relaxes me more than watching the night sky and the small critters make their nightly way up and down the paths in my little patch of woods here.
In Palm Bay, we cannot have a fire unless we’re cooking, so I wrapped a sweet potato and an ear of corn in foil and placed them in my firepit as I made a small fire. Just an hour’s worth, enough to cook my midnight dinner. I’d napped earlier after finishing the magazine, and proofread the pages again upon waking up. Then I took my gear and headed outside to decompress, cook my dinner and watch the sky.
I’m lucky in that where I live there are no street lights. It makes it easier to see the stars. Since the hurricanes of 2004 took down the big backyard oak (right onto my back porch 🙂 I now have a clear view of the north sky. With the sky so dark as it is now, I can lie on a blanket in the grass and the stars look so close I could almost touch them. I feel like when I look up at the big sky like that, it just lifts the tensions of the week away from me.
The same as sitting at the firepit. I love to sit in the wrought iron chair or on a blanket on the ground, and look into the fire. I am an expert fire poker. I love to rearrange the logs and embers and my little foiled packages. Last night I sat back in the chair and put my Timberlands up on the brick wall of the pit. I liked how the heat felt on my boots.
I made my camp near the firepit, under the giant oak. I lay down a tarp and some blankets and pillows, and ran my canvas between the overhead branches to break the dewfall, and one wall down against the wind. Both kitties came out to visit and watch me eat my fire roasted dinner. I love a sweet potato and ear of corn right out of the fire, no butter or salt and pepper, just au natural. It makes me feel like such a wilderness camper out there. Well, I can pretend enough that it relaxes me just the same.
And we get our share of woodland creatures here, too. As I sat up and soaked in the clear night sky, I watched the nightly procession: 3 raccoons, a mom and 2 youngsters; a pair of armadillos, a lone opossum. I could hear some birds in the tree overhead but didn’t recognize what they were by their sounds. I could hear the owl in the oak hammock down the street.
The crickets were singing, and with each new visitor to the scene, they would momentarily go quiet, so I knew someone was there. This went on all night long. I get some of my best meditation sessions in when I do these in-my-yard retreats. Sometimes I sleep like a baby. Sometimes I barely sleep all night long, like lying at the side of a lover and not wanting to sleep because you don’t want to miss a moment of the magic.
It’s all pretty magical if you think about it. All of it.
I just need to make time to see it.
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