Lately, despite the smothering heat and the lack of moisture that is killing everything in my yard and making my trees drop leaves like it's Autumn, I've been taking even more comfort and solace in the simple act of being outside than usual. Perhaps it's the discomfort I'm in most days as this baby gets bigger and bigger inside of me, maybe it's just a hatred of being cooped up in the Summer hiding from the heat that swells my feet and makes my body stream sweat, could be that it gives Luna mental stimulation while she is still on physical restrictions. Most likely though, it's simply that I've always been a dirt worshiper who feels better when I get outside, stick my bare feet on the ground and breath deeply.
On the rare mornings when it is still below 85* at 8am when Luna and I wake up and head out for her morning business, I grab a big cup of iced coffee and a book or my Moleskine and we sit side by side in chairs for as long as we have before the heat drives us both inside, panting. On breezy afternoons, I grab a quilt and a big cup of ice water and we head out to sit wherever there happens to be a lot of shade and a lack of fire ant hills.
But what's become a nearly nightly ritual, which I look forward to and don't even mind having to swat the blood sucking mosquitoes away to enjoy, is sitting outside at dusk watching the fireflies come out. Some nights I only manage to sit outside for 20 minutes, because I got out late or am not feeling very well and others I stay out there for hours. Usually Joe and Luna sit outside with me, he brings out a fan to blow the blood suckers away so I don't get eaten or have to bathe in bug spray, and we either chat or just sit quietly and let the sounds of Summer nights mingle with the dancing insects around us.
While I'm out there, my mind and body feel like they've shut down as I enjoy this magical display of tiny fireworks over grass and in the trees. For that period of time there are no bills, no concerns about the big changes coming, no discomfort, no stress, no worries. I'm completely relaxed, even more so than after a warm shower or bath, and everything that was previously filling my head, any tension at all, just slides away. When the lights have faded away, the lightning bugs thinning away until barely any are left and I go inside, I'm not bothered by the things I didn't get to on my To-Do list, I'm not aggravated by my lack of energy during the day, I don't beat myself up for the unwashed dishes, the unfolded laundry, the half-finished projects on my desks. I don't view that time outside as wasted or pointless, like I do with so many other forms of distraction (like when I've spent a lot of time watching TV or online).
Instead I view it as a nourishing and important ritual, something that I seem to need right now. Those magical little bugs, the frog princes and crickets singing their song as the sky darkens over head create moments for me to renew and replenish myself, moments to be treasured and to fall back on when I need them.
Nature is by far the most powerful of healers and no time spent with it can or should ever be viewed as wasted.