This morning, as I prepare to leave for a weeklong retreat, my life feels pretty scattered. I'm working my way down two lists -- the packing list and the things-to-do-before-I-go list -- and wondering when I need to leave to make the 4:30 deadline at the other end of the trip.
I had planned to go to church this morning, but then I remembered an email that arrived recently -- wasn't this the weekend everyone was off at the all-church retreat? -- so I re-read that and decided not to go. I was feeling a little overwhelmed (too much thinking, so early in the morning) so I decided to go back to bed and snuggle my sleeping husband.
But he woke up just as I was thinking of heading upstairs, and suddenly he was dressed and running in and out of the house, filling the kitchen with the spoils of his visit to Costco yesterday (I should never let him go alone!) and expecting me to put everything away while he went off to the coffeeshop to get our morning treats.
Before I gave up and decided to go upstairs I had started poring through the Italy pictures wondering what should go on the blog today. I had a wonderful image of an angel from a wall in Venice; rather boring at first glance until you realized there was a lovely painted madonna over his head. But it didn't seem to fit with all the chaos.
So then I found this image, shot yesterday on my way home from picking up new tires (I'd put it off for long enough; the old ones had 75,000 miles on them) at Poulsbo's new Fish Park. There's a pond there, surrounded by a stand of poplars, and the multiple layers of the image seemed to reflect a bit of the confusion in my life this morning.
There are the poplars behind me, not even in the picture save for the lone branch curling off to the right, but they cast their long shadows across the surface of green. There's the surface of the water, almost totally hidden by the green plant life that covers it. There are the leaves and branches that sit on top of that green. There are bare patches where the surface of the water is exposed, but they don't look like water because they are busy mirroring the sky, the clouds, and the trees on the opposite bank. And there's whatever is below the surface of the water, unseen except for the occasional ripples when it rises to the surface.
It all makes for a pretty busy image, not unlike my life. There, too, there are people and events casting shadows across the surface. There's the sort of litter, organic to existence, sitting on the surface -- to-do lists and costco purchases to be dealt with. There are moments that are free of that clutter -- like the time I spend in reflection and meditation -- and there's the memories and wishes and concerns below the surface that occasionally rise to the top, sending ripples out that gradually subside.
So my daughter just called, my husband is back with the coffee, and he has just reminded me that I need to cut his hair before I leave for Canada. And now he's standing over my shoulder asking me to scan the ferry ticket so I can use it on my trip and he'll still have it for his daily commute. I'm thinking it's time to stop typing; it was perhaps foolish to think I could squeeze this in with everything else that's going on.
Thanks for your patience; I'll be back next Saturday. Have a safe and peaceful week!