A perfect description of how I have felt over the last few months! Life had become merely a matter of going through the motions hoping for that time when I could be rejoined or reconnected. There was so much to deal with and so little time to catch my breath! By the time I got to Vermont I was literally physically and emotionally exhausted. Spiritually I had been holding my own but even that was beginning to wear thin! I desperately needed a chance to recharge and reconnect!
Nature is one of those things that has always been able to soothe me when I'm going through rough times. Vermont has plenty of variety in that category! One of the hardest parts about living in Missouri in the summer time is that it gets so hot and humid that you have no choice but to close up the house and turn on the air conditioning. No bird song, no hearing the leaves rustle as the wind blows, no sound of frogs singing at night. Just the quiet hum of the electric fan pumping cool humid free air through the house. It's tough to walk outside other than to walk to your air conditioned car or from your air conditioned car to your house. Even gardening becomes an elemental task of endurance, rather than the pleasure it had always been for me! And swimming? There are not many lakes here. There are rivers but you really can't swim in the Missouri or Mississippi and quite frankly, I'm not so sure I'd want to!
These were not problems I faced at Harvey Lake! The air was light and sweet filled with the smell of pine. The windows of the cabin were open day and night. The water ran crystal clear and cold and there was the steady gentle lap of waves as they hit along the shore. No cell phone, no satellite television, no major chain store nearby. I did have a dock that I could go swimming, fishing or boating from. I had a fire pit in the front yard to roast hotdogs and marshmallows. I had a porch to sit on and watch the action on the lake and enjoy the incredible mountain view. And there were card and board games to play on the rainy nights.
Harvey Lake is located on the eastern side of Vermont in a little town called West Barnet. The area reminds me of the Vermont of my childhood-uncluttered, unpretentious and perfectly comfortable. I discovered from talking with our camp neighbors that I was fortunate to be able to rent the cabin. Apparently the owners, John and Julia, do not normally rent out their cabin. It is truly a small gem set in a perfect location! I can honestly say, there but by the Grace of God go I. The cabin and the lake were truly a refuge for a battered and weary soul!
Lonnie came with us as well. He had never been east so I had the chance to show him around a bit. He got a chance to hike up Hunger Mountain and we all experienced the joy of walking around St. Johnsbury. We ate the most fantastic meal at the local diner and my family got to experience the wonder of shopping at a small locally owned independent bookstore. Funny story in all of this-St. Johnsbury still has parking meters and my husband and Lonnie were giddy with excitement because they got to park by a meter and feed quarters in to it! They thought that was just the coolest thing ever! My favorite part was stopping by a farm in Walden where I was able to purchase fresh blueberries! I also finally replaced my 10 year old purse with a new beautiful fabric purse handcrafted in Vermont! One of the things it made me realize was just how much I miss really fresh food which has spurred me on to get in a fall garden as soon as possible! The produce was lusciously divine, I kid you not! I love roadside farm stands!
Then of course, there was the reason for the trip-dad's funeral. It was truly a wonderful memorial to the life of my father who not only made a difference in my life but in the lives of so many around our family. I had the opportunity to reconnect with cousins and neighbors and dear childhood friends! There were hugs and tears but also laughter and story swapping and catching up, it truly was a celebration! Dad would have thoroughly enjoyed the get together!
Leaving was hard. I made sure I cleaned the cabin thoroughly because I wanted to be certain that I left it in as pristine condition as I found it. Then there was the stop by the folk's house to say good-bye to my family. I didn't cry until we crossed the border from Vermont to New York. Another chapter of life closed behind me, another chapter was ahead of me. Life continues to flow on whether we are ready for it or not! I wasn't so sure I was ready!
I was reminded of the importance of the flow when reading Ezekiel this morning. In chapter 47 it says:
"Wherever the river flows, life will flourish...Where the river flows life abounds."I needed to reconnect with the flow and to experience life again. The sounds, the smells, the tastes. The noise, the peace, the tears and the joy. I stepped in to the moving water at Harvey Lake. I immersed myself in the beauty and nature of Vermont. I wrapped myself in the arms of loving family and friends. I went with the flow and the healing balm washed over me. Life will flourish, life will abound. You just have to go with the flow and sometimes when you are so overwhelmed that can be a very hard choice indeed!