Finding peace in pieces

As he was working up a sweat washing his truck this morning, I heard my Beloved tell a passersby, “I’m going back on vacation right after this!”

“What a good idea!” I thought. To think of a few stolen moments without having something to do as vacation. Why wait for a whole week’s worth?

The moment reminded me of Heidi Stevens’ Balancing Act column yesterday in the Chicago Tribune, “Finding tiny ways to slow down during life’s hustle.”

Stevens is trying to slow down by savoring hot tea:

Hot tea demands to be sipped, preferably while seated, so as to avoid splashing it on your arms or spilling it down your shirt and scalding your clavicle.

A few times per week, I am now trying to end my evenings with a mug of hot tea. Sitting down.

She’s squeezing moments of rest between mountains of mayhem.

This is how wise people operate. Perhaps this is a function of gray(ing) hair (with age, comes wisdom?). We learn that if wait until we buy a house/lose weight/get a new job, we’ll never find time to do whatever it is we’re waiting to do. We learn to wedge whatever “it” is into our imperfect lives (or live with regrets).

So it is with relaxation.

Tranquility is not a place. It is a state of mind.

Picture-perfect tranquility at Ichetucknee Springs State Park in central Florida.

Picture-perfect tranquility at Ichetucknee Springs State Park in central Florida.

That’s not to say there aren’t tranquil places. I found one this weekend when we visited Ichetucknee Springs State Park — one has to travel a long way from Orlando and Florida’s beaches to find this gem. The water was uniquely blue and the place was stunningly beautiful.

Ah, a moment of tranquility in a crazy week (you noticed? After I recounted 100 facts about Grandma, I dropped off the face of the blogging earth).

To lie on the beach — in the sunshine with unending waves lapping the shore — that is relaxing. In fact, a beach is my happy place, the thing I meditate on when I’m clearing my mind before sleep. This is a no-brainer. It is harder – but not impossible – to find peace in a traffic jam.

I hate traffic. It’s horrible in Chicagoland but it wasn’t much better in the Tampa area last week. Yes, I enjoyed watching the Twins play four spring training games, but that feat required hours applying sunscreen, scouting for shady seating, finding scalpers with the right tickets, negotiating with said scalpers, navigating stop-and-go traffic, locating parking places and standing in line for concessions.

Did you know you can get a beer shake at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers? Yup -- beer and ice cream. Together. Like mustard and relish (there's a hot dog under there somewhere).

Did you know you can get a beer shake at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers? Yup — beer and ice cream. Together. Like mustard and relish (there’s a hot dog under there somewhere).

By the time I was enjoying a hot dog and a beer in my assigned seat, I was wiped out.

I kid, I kid. It was heaven. I mean really, what baseball fan isn’t happy at spring training? When I die, every day will include a baseball game in perfect weather where I can actually see the players perform for $30 or less per seat (in heaven, there will be unlimited parking and no lines at the concession stand).

Maybe the best thing about baseball games is the pace — built-in tranquility punctuated by moments of action.

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