This weekend, Dave and I hid out in a little cabin in Estes Park, a small mountain town about an hour away from Boulder. We didn't want a long drive but still wanted to feel like we had gone away. Too far away to worry about the laundry, chores, errands, and the dried-out Christmas tree still hidden in the back yard waiting to be taken to the wood chop place. On trips like these, I can measure my progress into emptiness with periodic and spontaneously audible sighs. Big exhales that sink me deeper into the realization that there simply isn't anything to do but breath.
As usual, it took about half a day to really settle into the bliss of nothingness. One of the first things I do in the morning is make a list. Every imaginable task required to achieve the 237 goals I set for myself that day. Lists are my friend. It was entertaining to witness myself struggling to make a mental list of "shoulds" on a trip where having no agenda was the goal. No list necessary? Exhale.
Even though the cabin had a full kitchen, I didn't want to cook at all. So before leaving, I stopped at Whole Foods and stocked up on all kinds of yummy prepared food. Grilled salmon, green beans almondine, candied yams, lobster chowder, fancy olives, three different kinds of cheeses, mangoes, pears and an insanely decadent chocolate cream pie. No cooking required? Exhale.
We hiked for three hours up Old Man Mountain randomly going off and on the trail as something of interest would catch our eye. It felt great to just stop and listen to the birds and the wind in the trees. No phone or Google reminders? Exhale.
I knew I had achieved escape velocity when I spent an hour watching the melting snow drip slowly from the roof into tiny puddles on the deck. Exhale.
For a weekend, no one needed me. No meetings, conference calls, or deadlines. No shuttling kids to hockey, baseball, band practice, or a friend's house. No parent-teacher conferences, permission slips, lunch money, or forgotten homework. I love the busy-ness that makes up my life. I created it and wouldn't have it any other way. But once in a while, it feels good to be still. To be quiet. To experience divine invisibility. Exhale.