Today is my last day of April school vacation. Tomorrow I head full force into my spring teaching and travel schedule which promises to be a lot of fun but really full.
I spent the better part of my winter on skis where I taught skiing and served as the Director of King Pine Ski and Snowboard School. I'm pretty passionate about skiing and even find myself on snow on most of my days off! But by the end of the winter, my home, car and physical body are in need of some serious rest and rejuvenation.
I spent most of it transitioning from winter to spring ... cleaning, changing over closets, putting gear away, watching old movies, clearing off my desk, sorting through old mail I never got to, upgrading my computer and thinking ahead to spring and summer. As the week draws to a close, I find myself feeling bad that I didn't get out and do more.
I could have squeezed in a few more days on snow. I should have taken a few days to visit my parents in Florida ... or headed south to spend some time with my nephews in RI. Or I could have gone to that professional development conference. Or I should have written at least half of my next book by now. I wasted a whole week!
Yesterday, I ran into a ski buddy while I was out doing a couple of errands. She talked about what she had been up to. Taking some time to transition from winter to spring. Cleaning closets, putting gear away, catching up on laundry, thinking about what's next for spring and summer and taking care of the little things that got left behind over the winter. She told me that as much as she loves skiing, she loves taking the time in between seasons to slow down, settle in, take care of loose ends and reflect on what's next.
I realized that I was being pretty hard on myself. The truth is, I was doing exactly what I needed to do. Taking some time in between while preparing for my next great adventure. The truth is, most of what I've been doing this week is taking care of things I've been tolerating all winter. Little things that aren't very exciting, but, if I pay attention, drain my energy and distract me if they aren't taken care of.
When I got home, I signed into Facebook and was floored by what I saw on my feed. Elaine, a friend and colleague from my old life in RI, had lost her battle with breast cancer. She passed just around the time I was talking with my ski buddy about transition between seasons.
Elaine and I weren't very close. We enjoyed working together over thirty years ago and had only recently reconnected on Facebook. However the news of her death hit me hard. As my tears flowed, I got up and walked outside for some fresh air. The sun was setting. The sunset was powerful.
As I looked out, I had a vision of Elaine transitioning. I saw a her tired body go through the darkness and her beautiful spirit emerge through the bright light of the sunset and reflect it's beauty back to the earth.
If there is a heaven, I know she is there now ... light and free of the burdens of her last season on earth ...well on her way to her next great adventure.
In life, as in death, we all will go through periods of transition. These in between places are not always honored or allowed. We often keep going, keep pushing, keep trying to achieve. And we get drained.
Today, I am reminded to slow down, seize each moment and honor the quiet, the stilness and sometimes mundane routine. Those in between places and spaces that lead us through the transition and on to our next adventure.
Rest in peace, Elaine ... and thank you for sharing your transition and helping me embrace my own.