I just got back from a wonderful weekend away with five girl friends. We were on the edge of the Hill Country at one of the girl’s grandparents’ ranch. I’ve desperately needed to have some calm, relaxing time outdoors, away from the city.
I feel like I live in darkness: I wake up before the sun does. I’m in my car as the sun’s rising. My classroom has no windows, so the only time I see the outside world during the day is our 20 minutes of recess at 11:00am. I often don’t leave work until 6, and then I’m in my car in one of six lanes of freeway, whizzing past giant strip malls, car lots, and billboards, usually on my way to some evening appointment or meeting. Once again I’m inside a building and by the time I get home for the night it’s dark once again. Rinse and repeat.
For the last three years I’ve spent much of my time outside. In England my feet were my transportation. In Mozambique our windows were open almost year round, and once again my feet were often my transportation. Plus we spent at least one afternoon a week at the beach.
Over spring break, I spent a day in the Hill Country and found myself breathing more easily. It was refreshing to my soul. I hadn’t even realized I wasn’t breathing properly inside the city. And that’s when I knew I needed to spend a weekend away – for my body, for my soul, for my sanity. For the last two mornings I’ve taken walks along country roads, picking wildflowers, rescuing a turtle from foreseeable death by car, feeling the sun on my shoulders, remembering that God is our Creator God. I walked barefoot through grass, read overlooking a pond, dangled my feet in a pool, and prayed with my girls in rocking chairs on the veranda. We listened to birds chirp, bees buzz, cows moo, and donkeys bray.
I’m not going to post any photos today of my weekend because that would be out of order. But I do find it appropriate that the folder I need to choose from today is entitled Boundary Walk and is from my first week at Sussex when I went on a walk in the South Downs around the university campus. In many ways the Hill Country reminds me of England with its green rolling hills. Sussex’s campus is very ugly, in my opinion, but the South Downs just behind the campus are beautiful. I used to enjoy long walks along the paths and the occasional mountain bike ride up and down the hills. One early morning toward the end of the school year, I went out on my mountain bike by myself and found myself in the middle of a herd of sleeping cows. Because they were so low to the ground, I didn’t notice them until I was in the midst of them. For some reason I love cows, and I stopped and watched because it was such a peaceful scene. One by one they started waking up and didn’t mind at all that I was there. I believe that was my last ride on the Downs before I left England.