I began to paddle around the point this morning. I wasn’t too concerned about the clouds at first, then I noticed it was getting darker, and I took pause. A faint rumble of thunder put me and my kayak in a quick about face. I aborted any lake outing for today. The dogs and I walked around the dirt roads for our dawn constitutional, then sprinted home as the rain hit and the thunder became more insistent.
Poor Guster searched frantically for someplace to hide from the thunder after scurrying into the house. A sleepy T. got out of bed and called him in her room for comfort. Here he is hiding under her bed.
It is almost as dark as night and the rain is pouring down.
A, N, and boyfriend M all left yesterday afternoon. Happily, it was a terrific day for hiking and we were able to fit in a quick morning trip up a local ski hill to finish their visit.
It is no wonder that I have taken to Maine as readily as I did when we moved there 8 years ago. Time and again I am reminded of how much New York State’s Adirondacks and the Maine woods remind me of each other. They share so many of the same landscapes of lake, woods and mountains – a beauty that reaches me powerfully in both places. Growing up as an Adirondacks girl prepared me well for life in Maine.
I have learned something about myself in the last few days. Or perhaps I’ve only been reminded of something in a more illuminating way than usual. Having my parents and siblings and other extended family around in addition to my own has helped clarify things.
Like my mother before me and others in my extended family, I concentrate an almost unhealthy amount of mental energy on trying to make sure that everyone around me is happy and getting along. It is not an ignoble goal, certainly, but it is often an elusive one, and perhaps unrealistic.
Sometimes the wishes of two people you love are mutually exclusive. Sometimes brushing away conflict to maintain a happy group only leads to long term simmering problems. Sometimes trying to make people happier is really annoying and makes things worse. Sometimes I create the problems myself and feel guilty about making things worse. Still I persist, and become so preoccupied with the challenge that I have trouble returning my mind to my personal pursuits – writing articles, blogging, getting my head back on my book.
I read an essay about mothers and writing a while ago. It was a fairly typical argument, the gist of which was “to heck with sacrificing yourself for your kids.”
I don’t buy it.
Yes, it is important for everyone – men and women – to pursue personal fulfillment in life. It is also important to make sacrifices for the greater good. Hard work, delayed gratification, and compassion towards the needs of others are not stressed nearly enough in today’s growing world. The truth of the matter is that the greatest personal fulfillment will likely come from making sacrifices for the good of others. Those “sacrifices” are more likely to lead to a better self than a lot of personal indulgences.
I say we should make sacrifices for our kids, and our parents, and our spouses and friends and plenty of others. That’s what life is all about.
That being said, when it comes to personalities, chemistry, relationships…it is unrealistic to believe that people can be managed or manipulated to any great degree. Our spouses, children, siblings, parents, dear friends - all have to sort matters out for themselves. We each have our own interplays to work out, and we have to allow others to work out their own.
Sometimes darkness descends over what you had hoped would be a bright dawn. You cannot hold back the rain and the thunder. They will come. They will run their course. Sometimes they are even sorely needed in order to clear the air.
Never mind another’s plan.
Offer comfort where you can.