the wagon, summer & st-jean-baptiste
Happy Belated Solstice, friends! And thank you for all the warm birthday wishes. I’ve already managed to strike one item off the big list. Woop! Indeed, yours truly survived the London to Brighton bike race with but sore knees and a couple bramble scratches (from running into the bushes for a wee). 54 miles, people. A feat which has surely (somewhat) prepared me for the 3 Peaks Challenge this coming weekend: 42 kilometres of hiking with a total ascent of 9,800 feet and a driving time of 10 hours. Pfff. Small potatas, you say? Now imagine doing it all in 24 HOURS? Add sleep deprivation and potential snow on Ben Nevis to the mix and you got something totally cray cray.
The goal is this, this is the goal:
|5pm||Start Ben Nevis.|
|10pm||Finish Ben Nevis and start drive to Scafell Pike (six hour drive).|
|4am||Arrive and start climbing Scafell Pike (Wasdale Head)|
|8am||Finish Scafell Pike and start drive to Snowdon (five hour drive).|
|1pm||Arrive and start climbing Snowdon|
|5pm||Finish Snowdon, and complete challenge.|
Naturally, we’re doing this for a good cause – raising money for Orangutan sanctuaries. So if you have a tenner in your pocket and you don’t know where to spend it, please feel free to encourage us by donating here.
On another note, seems I fell off the mindfulness wagon in the past month. You see, the thing about mindfulness is that you have to actually be mindful of doing it. The list of reasons for “not stopping” are endless and the distractions are so enticing. Another episode of Arrested Development? Don’t mind if I do. Distracting the mind is very different from quieting it. Just as living with purpose is very different from leading a so-called productive life.
My husband jokes that my memory is like a sieve (except when it comes to recalling something naughty he said or did “But you said, in September of 2010 that you didn’t like how this dress looked on me”). And so it is that when I am feeling frazzled, I forget to do those things that make me feel good: working out, meditating, eating well (all because I’m too busy doing those things that don’t really need to be done right this second.) How often have you suddenly decided that the toilet simply had to be cleaned immediately? How many times has the blasted toilet taken precedence over getting “the” work done? And y’all know what I mean by the work, yes? Permission to wear my hippie hat of years past? Your soul’s work, dudes.
Anyways, I’ve already managed to not only jump off the wagon but derail from the point altogether. And the point is this. I’ve realised that the busier I get, the more crucial it is that I stop for 15 minutes a day. Full stop.
cup – white
tea – lemony
music – soft
blanket – warm
sky – grey
rooftops – london
swift – flying
me – here
here – now
mind – quiet
Even if only that – the bare bones of my life in this small moment rather than the buzzing hive of activity in my head. That stuff? It’s not really real is it? It’s only as real as you allow it to be.
On a totally unrelated but equally important note, today is St-Jean-Baptiste, Quebec’s National Holiday. The last time I was home for St-Jean was in 2009. I was on my friend Roma’s rooftop and we were lying under the shade of a blanket propped up by an old TV antennae (or some such thing) and I was writing this magazine article. I remember the heat. I remember the sound of the street party down below. I remember the writer’s block. I don’t remember thinking that everything I knew in that moment would ever change. That the rooftops I’d see today would be the rooftops of London. That I wouldn’t be able to pop into the Banquise for a poutine or Idee Fixe for a bit of shady shade and a double Jameson. That I wouldn’t be watching fireworks exploding somewhere over the Jacques Cartier bridge. That I couldn’t just hop on my bike and ride down to Avenue de L’Esplanade to knock on a friend’s door.
Which is precisely why this practice of mindfulness is so important. I believe my childhood guru Ferris Bueller said it best “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Bonne St-Jean, Québec!