What I brought home

I really enjoy going away. When my girls were small, it had me feeling out of sync with my culture — I loved to leave them and My Sweetie behind for a weekend…or a week. I’m not much for calling home, either, never have been. When I climb out of my dailiness, I’m out.

Until I’m back. Which I also like. Back to the spaces I know, to the rhythms I’m familiar with. Ready to share stories of Away, to connect my life at home into how my life unfolded elsewhere. For me, coming home is the essential other side of going away, in the way a piece of paper has two sides but is always one thing.

As we headed out, My Sweetie reminded me that we had not been away-together in perhaps eight years. I hadn’t noticed, probably because we spent last year home-together. That time had already re-grounded me in our friendship, which for me is a subterranean stream of rightness. Two weeks of just-us in a bubble of Somewhere Else flowed along much like home-together has been. But with more space for me to “go meta.”

I quickly filed away that where we stayed was designed for generating impromptu community. The room we had was the size of an inexpensive New York hotel room; the only place one could stretch out was on the bed, so to sit one needed to use the large, comfy chairs and sofas in the Lodge. Or one of the many rocking-chairs on the porch, overlooking a huge meadow and then the lake. We would pass many folks making new friends there (“Where are you from? What did you see today?”) but we did not. A pair of introverts, content in our own company.

As you likely have noticed, I keep contrasting our pair communication with the swirl that kicks up when we are in a larger family group. It’s the volume of silence that keeps striking me. With the larger groupings, there are few pauses and many interjections, though somehow the main idea makes it from start to finish. Except for My Sweetie. I remarked this when the girls hit middle school: he would begin, a girl would interject (often at random), he would begin again. I remember this well not only because it happened daily (!) but because after multiple restarts he would lose his temper at their interruptions. I get that. I hate repeating myself; I get bored when I’m on the same thought for very long.

But it sensitized me to what I see now: with only two voices, we can have plenty of silence. Plenty seems to be what’s required. I am flexing my facilitator’s skills at my table, waiting in non-anxious presence to discover what might unfold. It’s important that I choose not to fill the space with thoughts and observations, because I now see those will push off what still needs to be said.

Hiking trails lend themselves to silence. As does experiencing each day shoulder-to-shoulder. Then observations can be quick and quiet, still leaving room.

So yes, I’ve brought geyser time home with me. Maybe I’ve been shaping myself in this direction for years, maybe it’s one of the fruits of no longer being in my twenties. But I see that the daily rhythms I’ve been building this season can support it…a new experiment for me to run.

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