The Story of Recharging – July Essay
Summer. Holiday. Summer holiday. As summer spent in the smouldering city when even the asphalt is melting under your shoes, is so not a way I dream of living this season. Summer is hard on some, who would want to aestivate, you know – those people who’d rather wear five to six layers of clothes and frost on their eyebrows, sip hot coffees all day long and indulge in hot-spicy comfort food. Those people who gladly shop for winter boots, scarves and comfy sweaters than bathing suits. I am part of those people.
Give me mountains, give me snow, give me rain and mist and fog and gloom all day long. I am not complaining. I’ll probably be smiling from ear to ear.
However, summer is unavoidable in Bucharest. And in the city summer is definitely more unbearable than anywhere else. Everything is hot and burning. Nights are especially painful, as you wait for that chill, for that possibility of taking deep breaths, of not throwing your covers off.
So, we take a strategic approach and make time to get away. For as long as possible. And as often as possible. We just run like we’ve been chased by wild bears. Away from the heat, away from the maddening crowd. We do not do city breaks in summer; we do forest breaks, and mountain breaks and fishing trips and camping and (sometimes rarely and shortly) seaside rendezvous.
Fortunately, this summer has not been all pain and sweat, as we had some respiro with 20 something temperatures and that was truly glorious.
And yet, we long to get out of the city. The mountains are calling and we have to answer. Forests, alpine meadows, icy-cold creeks, sleeping under a tree, watching the clouds above your head, plaid shirts, hiking boots, rain/wind jackets, and a glorious, colourful scarf.
Tomorrow we’re out of the city. We’ll be taking a much-needed time off from asphalt streets, from crowded metro and buses, from deadlines and work. And will try to find our souls. Hopefully, they’re there, where we left them when we found them last time.
City nomads. This is what we have made ourselves into. We carry our lives in big bags, all around the city, and we become visitors in our homes. Leave earliest in the morning, and come when the sun has already set, tired and spent, weary and hollow, crossing things on our to-do lists. We gather all we might need during the day in empty pockets of the backpacks, laptops, keys, agendas, water bottles, wet wipes, snacks, external batteries, cosmetics, fruits, chopped carrots, juices, even a sandwich from time to time, a spare of clothes, and so on, as we would leave on a road-trip with no intention to return anytime soon. When did this happen? How did we let this happen? I see women wearing beautiful dresses, heels and a lovely shoulder bag matching her lovely shoes, and then they turn around and I see the massive backpack carrying all their lives inside. I see men in suits on bikes with sports shoes on and on their backs, yes; you know it, that big ugly backpack carrying laptops, sometimes 2, office shoes, a tie and maybe a t-shirt. I see kids taken to kindergarten, going to school with these colourful (yet huge) backpacks, filled with books, and notebooks and snacks and other things, every single day, growing wearier with every day of the week, turning themselves into city nomads as their parents were turned into at the same age.
And we’re counting days till the weekend. We’re counting days till holiday. Every single moment we’re counting down to something. A day, a minute, a deadline, a weekend, a meeting, a month, a birthday… a special moment. When we’ll leave the nasty backpacks at home and straighten our backs and lift our eyes to see the sky.
We run to Mother Nature, who is welcoming us every single time like long-lost sons and daughters, and who allows us to recharge.
Time off. Time out. Out of time. Somehow, we exist out of time during vacations. We arrange daily schedules around sleep and meals. The rest of the day remains un-programmed. Free. Welcoming adventure. We become bold, wild, free, brave, open. We smile more. We get ideas. We create. We dream. We live more intensely. We break free from the proverbial box and usual patterns. We make time for ourselves. We make time for others. We let go of all expectations. We embrace the crazy weather, the chaotic bus schedule, the midday breakfast. We enjoy that extra cup of coffee or that desert; we walk the extra mile; we read the extra chapter; we follow our passions; we do the extra thing because we can. Because we have the time. And allow ourselves to be free from the literal backpack filled with dire and worry and stress and grim.
We recharge for several days, weeks, -if we’re lucky, for an entire year. Is that enough? How could that be enough?
How could that be enough for your soul? For your mind? For your entire being? And for the others around you? Getting from a city nomad to a free spirit takes time. It takes time to transition from the cement to the forest path; it takes time to break from the cage, to grow wings and to learn (yet again) how to fly. And it is getting harder and harder with each year as we grow wearier and more worn out, incapable of keeping our eyes open to the good.
Questions I’m left with after this half-essay.
1.How do you balance work-time off?
2.How do you recharge?
3.How do you make it last?
4.What is the best way to transition from a city nomad to a free spirit?
5.How do you do it?
P.S. This post contains 1000 words in full, as per WordPress’ count and as I promised.
Go recharge; it would do good to your soul,
The Story of Nature- June Essay
If you’ve ever been to a big city, you saw those manicured row of trees, lanes millimetric planned, not a leaf out of line, those curated gardens where every plant has its place and does not overlap, those 24/7 blooming plants, so there would be no time for a respiro. You saw the people tending to them, plucking out the weeds and cutting each and every leaf daring to crawl above the fence, or between its grates. Everything is fenced in, everything is off limits and no, you cannot sit on the grass, you cannot pick up flowers, you cannot and will not in any way dare to open the garden gates, for fear that you will disturb the tamed nature contained behind them.
We have lived like that for decades, not sitting on the grass, not daring to touch the flowers or pick up the sour fruits, keeping to the paved paths and sitting on the benches, while our eyes glanced yearning at the green pasture and colourful and scented buds.
Nature was tamed. And fenced. And so were we. So were our souls. So were our lives. On the “right” paths, the cemented ones, not able to roam freely.
These days the parks are welcoming you with invitations. You may sit on the grass. First time I saw that sign I laughed and cried in the same breath. It was a decade or so ago. In a park from where we were called down by a guardian and scolded for a quarter of an hour for we dared to sit on the grass and touch its green spikes.
That was a while ago. No there is a trend to open the gardens, to encourage people to be in touch with nature and to feel their souls again.
We’re sick of “no touching” signs, we’re sick of fences and barriers, we’re sick of looking from a safe distance and yearning.
As humans, we were born free and wild and we were then trained not to be free and wild, but hang around with “no touching” signs around our necks, we were trained to become distant and lonely, to look but not touch.
Nature is to be in contact with, to be touched, to be felt. Roses to be smelled and grass to be stepped on with bare feet and trees to be climbed on and rivers to be bathed in.
And yet we’re not. We’re looking at all of this and still maintain our distance. That’s why we’ve gotten so tired and overwhelmed in the steel and brick and mortar and cement cities. Nature is being held hostage behind walls and fences and we cannot charge from it. We cannot charge our souls. We’ve been running on empty for so long we forgot what it’s like to be whole. To feel whole.
This is a petition to free nature again. Our own nature. Human nature.
So, child, please sit on the grass. Please make yourself a flower crown. Please leave away the noise made by man and step into the forest. Please breathe in the fresh air of the mountains. Please bathe your body in the ocean’s water. Please forget a little about your struggles and come watch the birds learning to fly. Please come back to yourself, you’re not made of brick and mortar, of steel and rods, of glass and plastic.
Rivers, untamed rivers flow within your skin and stars shine behind your eyes. There are galaxies in your soul and flowers grow from your fingertips. Salty waters run from your eyes and stars shine behind your eyelids. Your laughter booms and echoes with the thunder and there’s magic flowing in your veins.
Run back to your roots. And find yourself again. If you’re nowhere to be found, or there’s nothing that you like, then make yourself from scratch. This time take your time and only add what makes your whole being happy.
Come rest your weary bones on fertile soil and wet your chapped lips into a stream of icebergs.
Lay your body on top of mossy fields and cover yourself with a blanket of stars. Lay your body on sandy covered beaches and cover yourself with a blanket of salty waters.
Get down on your knees and give thanks for the scented jasmine and prickly roses, for the salty seas and icy rivers, for the eternal snow laying on top of the highest mountains and for the fruits of the earth. Let your fingertips touch the blades of grass and breathe in the cool air of the summer morning. Walk barefoot on the autumn’s fallen leaves and cool your hands in the freshly fallen snow.
Allow your heart to be open and your mind to wander. Set yourself free and resist the sheltered life.
Close your eyes, my child. For you are safe tonight. You’re where you belong.
You are home.
How do you feel? How does your soul feel inside? Does your heart beat faster? Does your blood run freely? Is your mind less troubled? How is your breath? Is it deeper? Lighter? More powerful? Does the weight on your soul feel lifted?
How do you feel, now that you’re home and you’re whole?
P.S. This post does not in any way encourage trespassing, destroying, ruining protected parks, plants; and in any way disturb the natural order of things! This post encourages to help protect special areas and support the work of rangers, by being in touch with our own nature and lending a helpful hand in teaching others to be free without in any way disturb other’s freedom. Your freedom ends where the other’s begins.
P.P.S. This Essay has 1000 words in full, as per WordPress count, as promised in January. It took me a while to write it, even if I started it mid June. I guess it is hard sometimes to be as free and wild as your soul craves to be. Doesn’t it?
The Story of Vulnerability – May Essay
Well, now things get serious. We talked about Time, Communities, Travelling and Inspiration. All in the light of being creative and living that creative and authentic life that most of us strive for. Have been struggling with this month’s theme, as I looked at the list of topics I wanted to talk about for a while, feeling like none of them would suffice. Or be good enough. Because, oh, yes… I was feeling vulnerable.
Don’t we all?