I am really lucky to run once a week with a run club. It motivates me, pushes me to run faster and is an opportunity to meet people and see the beautiful landscape. 4 of us headed off in the rain on Wednesday evening, 2 Canadians, 1 Irish, 1 English, along a trail that horses use. It was mucky, in parts smelly and we were getting very, very wet. The Canadians asked us whether we were used to this. My English team-mate replied, “I miss the rain sometimes”. I was shocked. The reliability of it not raining is something I love about it here, and when rain is expected, we know in advance and prepare. In Ireland, it just rains. It may only rain for 10 minutes in the day, but you never know when, and you are constantly alert. I appreciate the dryness even when it is overcast, but I know I cannot depend on it being dry when I leave work or come out of the shop or by the time I finish hanging my washing out. It is why I drove everywhere (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it). She went on to explain “the weather is always good here, so I feel I should be out doing something. Rain gives you a reason to just stay at home and cuddle up”.
I got home, soaked through, cold and sweaty. I enjoyed a hot shower more than usual, changing into fresh dry clothes, and eating a hot meal. Cosy and warm, I just relaxed. I thought back on the idea of rain being an excuse to rest. I know at times I worry about resting too much, especially here in nature’s playground. I fill my days off with hikes, or a trip to the museum, or to try the multitude of different eateries. I decided to rest. For my 2 days off, I would take it easy. I wasn’t going to be lazy, something I can be too often when I vegetate into a couch potato. I kept up with my running schedule, but afterward, I came back to my home and stopped. I read. I cooked meals. I wrote. I sent e-mails and rang people. For an hour, I just sat looking out the window at the mountain. I thought on the quote from Lin Yu-Tang:
“If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon
in a perfectly useless manner,
you have learned how to live”
I thought on the people wishish for the day they retire or to win the lotto so they can quit work, just so that they can do nothing, and yet have trouble sitting still in the evening.
I genuinely enjoyed it. Taking it easy is something I know I am good at, but actually scheduling rest was rewarding in a way I did not realise. Thoughts and feelings came to me that I did not know existed. I became aware of what was going on inside: the multi-layered cake that it was. I saw the things I missed about home and the things I loved about Canada, and realised that they exist alongside each other, without competing. They just are. I looked at how I was doing: the new friends I have met, and the older ones who keep me in the loop at home; my work here compared to my work at home and my attitude to both; my past and my future. I saw more about me in one afternoon than I had over the past year of soul-searching. Perhaps the past year of soul-searching helped me find answers in that one afternoon, but I know it was the act of deciding to stop, to just sit and be, that helped me see through the rain, to see me.