A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Friday, October 21, 2005

Easy To Please

As some of you know, I have been working very long hours each week since June. In late August, I went from merely working six days a week to working 12 hours a day during the week with added time on at least one weekend day. Some of my friends have been wondering how I am doing, and I have discovered that the answer is "better than I thought". I have learned that now, in the face of deprivation from any kind of outside life, the very smallest things make me happy.

For instance, I got to close an hour early tonight, and was so thrilled to get home and be able to feed my burros in the waning daylight, instead of trying to balance a flashlight and a flake of hay at the same time. I was able to walk back down to the post office afterwards, and open my box in good light, instead of trying to use the streetlight outside to land on the right combination. It had even occured to me that I could walk across the street to the historic Mayo building and check out the latest version of a restaurant, which just opened there this week, after being out of service all summer.... I ran into a couple of friends, and actually drank a draft beer while waiting for the most scrumptious chicken enchiladas I've ever had (well, truthfully, they were very, very good, but not authentic - it's just been that long since I sat down to even someone else's cooking). I couldn't quite remember when the last time was that I had a glass of beer at a bar, so I decided to order another!

At home during the week, it has been pretty much the same principle; even reading a few pages in a book, or knitting several rows and not being too tired to concentrate on a pattern have me really impressed. Going to bed early enough to get a good night's sleep has seemed luxurious, and getting up in the morning and walking 20 minutes in the pitch-black, before-dawn darkness has seemed adventurous (and may well be around here, although most of the nocturnal critters have already headed off to bed). I got to visit the feed store the other day on the way back from a meeting, and was as delighted as a child. I stopped at the shop in town where my friend Peggy works, to find out my crafts co-op shopminding days for the next month, and was so delighted to be able to buy myself a purple turtleneck and a book titled In Buddha's Kitchen.... I didn't need masses of variety, just something slightly different to catch my eye. It just doesn't take much to impress me any more.

I am not knitting anything fancy these days, but I am very proud of the fact that I have been steadily able to contribute to Cloths for Katrina. There are balls of yarn lying around begging for me, and I will get to them eventually, but I am grateful for this time to appreciate small things, not just elaborate lace and gourmet food.

I am reading Sweeping Changes, by Gary Thorp, going through rather quickly for my limited reading time (which must be shared with knitting time in the few hours after work each day). It is a delightful examination of "discovering the joy of zen in everyday tasks"... here is a small sample:

"The act of sweeping unites us with our ancestors and with people all over the world. From cave-dwelling times until now, people have gathered bundles of straw and grass in order to sweep clean the flattened surfaces of their lives. And in many parts of the world, dirt floors and walkways are still commonplace....But no matter how carefully you sweep, you will always find a fine line of dust that still defies the dustpan....There is always something to remind you of what still needs to be done. There is no way to arrive at 'finished'." As Margene says, "It's the process"!

There is a picture to reward you from wading through all this rambling. This is MY tree, located just outside the door of my office at the clinic in Downieville... a joy every time I step out the door, which is often throughout the mornings I work there, running upstairs to get some piece of information. It never fails to take my breath away, and I will miss it a bit when the winter storms finally blow all the leaves away, although I might be too busy totally enrapt with the snow to notice. Posted by Picasa


Blogger margene said...

When we are so busy we forget how wonderful the simple things are. You reconnected and enjoyed each step of the day anew. It was wonderful to read. How nice you were able to relax a little. I loved that passage in the book, too. I have too many books stacking up. I might take tomorrow to do more reading than knitting. Enjoy your weekend!

5:45 AM  
Blogger KnitNana said...

Ah Birdsong, what a glorious tree! We have none of that, yet, and perhaps not this year? You just don't know till suddenly it BURSTS out...I'm pleased you can take a few moments to breathe and enjoy good food, friends, and beer!
(you are sorely missed!)

6:50 PM  
Blogger jomama said...

Pics of your burros, please.

I luv the little guys.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Janis said...

This post has stayed with me for a few days now. Isn't it something how much an hour can mean in terms of helping you reconnect?

I agree with Jomama - time for more pics of the donkeys/burros!

3:51 AM  

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