On Tuesday, as I set off from Vermont, I thought, “I have the grays.” Not the blues, which would be too deep, too sad, too close to the core, but just the grays. And not even a dark gray, just a little translucent pearly gray. But it was hard leaving Vermont, both figuratively in the sense that I was sorry to say good-bye and literally, because I had errands to run before I did and none of them worked out easily.
My cousin had taken me to a great grocery store when we’d had very little time, so the first thing on my agenda was to go back there and stock up on food for the week. But around and around in circles I went. I thought I knew right where it was but I couldn’t find it and my GPS couldn’t find it under the name that I knew it by (the co-op) and I just kept going in circles. Eventually I gave up.
But the whole day felt like that kind of day. My propane tank was reading at 1/4 full and I didn’t want to chance running out if the weather got colder, so I really wanted to fill it. Three stops for propane before the end of the day and all I accomplished was to learn that apparently the propane tank is hard to fill. I’d run out of dog food a few days earlier and bought a new fancy-schmancy kind at the great grocery store, but the dogs hated it. Even B wouldn’t eat it after the first time and he eats anything. Z seemed perfectly willing to starve herself rather than touch any of her food and B seemed lethargic and unhappy. He didn’t even want kibble. So I wanted the right dog food for them, one they were used to. At one point, I passed a PetSmart sign and I was so happy — I actually thanked God for helping me find dog food. And then it turned out that the PetSmart was coming soon, not actually there. Argh. Finally, I still needed groceries but I didn’t have a list or a plan (except to select from the great options at the cool healthy store) and my impulse purchases in a mainstream supermarket, once I was already frustrated by not finding dog food or propane, weren’t the best.
By the time I got to the campground in Maine — with dog food, without propane, and with some not-very-well-chosen groceries, I was tired and cranky and I didn’t even want to explore. I fed the dogs and ate some of the not-very-good stew that I’d made over the weekend and went to bed. (For my own future reference: the insta-pot, when pressure-cooking, intensifies flavors, so it’s better to go easy on the balsamic vinegar in stew — a little goes a long way.)
Then yesterday turned out to be the kind of day where the ground beef that I shouldn’t have bought (because I don’t have a grill and I don’t like fried burgers) dripped all over the refrigerator and in the process of cleaning it up, I spilled the dog treats everywhere.
No, that doesn’t adequately explain the day. It was the kind of day where I walked a long, long way to get to the beach, only to immediately slip on wet rocks and wrench my knee. And get lost on the way home, so that it was an even longer walk home.
No, that still doesn’t explain it.
It was a grey day. The kind where you keep thinking optimistically that maybe the fog will burn off soon, but instead it settles in deeper and heavier the longer the day goes on.
I’m in Freeport, Maine. The campground is lovely, but the crowds on Tuesday — post-Labor Day! — made driving through the town to get to the campground unpleasant, especially since I’d already been driving for hours. I thought I’d be a little bit of a tourist in Maine — finding myself some great seafood to eat, wandering around cute little towns — but even after spending all of yesterday (after my long morning walk) holed up in the van, I’m finding myself seriously disinclined to move. The weather is supposed to remain gray, all day long. Tomorrow will have some sun, but it’s going to go up to 84, which means no leaving the dogs alone in the van. Then Saturday will be a perfect day — weather-wise, anyway. Sunny and 72. But also Saturday, which I suspect in Freeport, means crowds and crowds of people.
And one thing that I’m discovering about living in Serenity is that it’s hard to do anything by impulse. Maybe that’s good news? But playing it by ear, for example, planning to go someplace on the spur of the moment, just doesn’t work. Before I can drive somewhere, I have to pack up. Everything has to get stowed away — dishes, the coffeemaker, electronics, the dogs’ tie-out lines, the outside rug, the chair, the screen from the back doors, the shower curtain, the curtains, the power line, the water hose. All the cabinets’ locks have to be checked. The fridge lock, the medicine cabinet, the bathroom doors, all checked. The seats in the proper position, the window covers stowed, the rearview mirror repositioned. It’s not a trivial process. I’m getting faster at it, I think — on Tuesday, I was ready to go by 8AM when my cousin left for work — but I can’t just decide, for example, to make a quick run to a restaurant for some seafood. There’s no such thing as a quick run anywhere.
And that’s okay, I think. My aunt, on Sunday, said to me that it sounded like I was living intentionally. I hadn’t thought about it in that way before, but it resonated. Yes, I’m trying to live intentionally. And my intentions today, on a gray day, are to appreciate my dogs, both of whom happily gobbled down their dog food this morning; to appreciate the coziness of my home; to maybe make myself many cups of tea and to hopefully write some good words. And if all I ever see of Maine is gray sky and the green trees around this campsite, that’s okay.