My summer retreat is a 30-year-old mobile home in the hills of Franklin, North Carolina. Retreat is a very good word. When I finally manage to get up here in the summer months the rest of the world melts away.
This year has been a joy. My sister has visited more often and during August she and her husband Wes were here for more than a week. I’ve been writing almost non-stop and, in the last week, I finally saw the path for this book idea that has been clanging around in my head for months. I’ve had numerous articles published at Cannabis Now and Huffington Post.
The solitude of my home on Fawn Hill has been a treat but summer is gone and obligations call. Soon I will be traveling to medical cannabis seminars and giving speeches which are being prepared in this quiet place. Back to work. Back to Florida.
But before I leave behind these hills for another year I wanted to share my Zen.
Each summer I have spent time working on “the wall,” an old stone wall that runs the length of the house. It was in horrible disrepair when we first took possession in 2013. The first year I could barely get near it for all the poison ivy. But I have rebuilt two significant sections over the years. This year I didn’t think I had it in me. My back ached, my knees ached, the bone spur on my left ankle was cranky and a big part of me said, “Let it go.” And I did for the first four weeks. But I kept looking at that section (above) and eventually, like the wall, I crumbled and began tearing it apart. Once you do that you’ve made a commitment.
It has been a six week project. Two sections that I thought were done got torn out and re-done. The process of building with stone is, I’ll grant you, laborious. But there is something about the process that I find so soothing and, if you’ll indulge me, a bit genetic. The Irish are well known for their proclivity towards stone work. I swear I can feel that sometimes.
My neighbor and dear friend Bonnie calls this work “my Zen.” And I think she is correct. One day she heard the stones clacking around and thought about coming down to offer help but she decided against it. “This is your Zen time,” she said. She’s right.
I finished today. I’ll drop some fill dirt on it and let the rain and snow of winter drive the dirt down into the new structure. I needed to buy some rocks to finish the job and it was odd to work the “newcomers” into the mix. But here it is, the finished project. Farewell to Fawn Hill for 2016. It has been grand.