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  • Aram Mitchell

on vacation

Nine days ago I set an away message on my email and let that setting be a ritual that ushered me from ordinary time into the spaciousness of vacation.

Three days in Baltimore with friends and tastes of culture. Three days in the woods, just us, our dogs, and some moose grazing in a pond. Three days at home engaged in the soothing practices of off-loading clutter from my basement, and rearranging rooms and closets and books on the shelves.

I needed a boost of belonging, some space to decompress, to declutter my busy mind, and hunker into my tender heart. While I was unplugged I tried to listen a lot. I spent time pressing pencil to paper, covering pages of my journal with sentiments and observations. I finished a book, started a couple others. But mostly I just needed to catch my breath. So I did. I took deep breaths. Lots and lots of inhalations and exhalations. I followed the billowing of my animal lungs for days and days to a place of renewed strength, composure, and calm.

From a balcony in Baltimore overlooking the harbor, from a hammock by a pond in the Maine north woods, from the driver’s seat of my Subaru all in between, and from the basement in my house durning a pause between loads of stuff: I took long drags of breath and offered them back to the world. And for a time I let that be enough of a contribution.

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solitude, sort of

There’s a place I’ve been going to the past couple of weeks. It’s a short drive on country roads to get there. There is a pond and trees and sky and a picnic table where I sit and take out my journal,

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