Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Experiment - Day 23

It's the 23rd day of The Experiment where my 10-year-old daughter Rebecca assigns me tasks that I must complete. Unfortunately, it feels like a crash-and-burn day.

Yesterday went much better - I went for a walk around the neighborhood with Beth - it was a glorious, cool, crisp morning and the walk was very enjoyable. And it felt good to have the first task completed early.

It wasn't until late afternoon that I completed task 2, which was to play my fiddle for 30 minutes. I chose a very challenging tune to learn - Ed Haley's Poplar Bluff - and when I was working out the 2nd position part (ask a fiddler if you don't know what this means), I was sure I saw neighborhood dogs packing their bags and purchasing airline tickets. It'll take a lot of woodshedding before I dare trot that tune out in public - but at least I started the process of mastering it.

I didn't doodle - dangit! But that was an extra task, so it's OK that I didn't get to it.

Now for today's tasks:
  1. Find your "secret place". In the movie "The Education of Little Tree", the boy's grandfather says "All Cherokee have a secret place. It's a place that's just for you. Sometimes, you just feel like you have to go there."

    Just the sight of this project sent me into an emotional tailspin. I have such a place in Southern California, on the spine of the Malibu mountains where I can see Malibu Canyon all the way to the ocean on one side, and a small community nestled into a bowl in the mountains on the other side, under a mountain fringed with jaggy sandstone outcrops. It's a place I discovered probably when I was 16. I originally went there to party with my friends. But after I outgrew that sort of thing, it became a place that I went when the rest of the world wasn't agreeing with me. I've had some magic moments on the top of that hill - and for many years, I kept the tradition of watching the sun set on Christmas Eve at that spot.

    I've been here in Western North Carolina for 14 years, and I have yet to find such a place in this part of the world. There were a few places behind the log house near Barnardsville where I once lived, but it's a private development now, and houses now stand in those places - I wouldn't feel comfortable going back in there now that I no longer live there. There are a few places off the Blue Ridge Parkway I like, but they are usually swarming with people. I want a place I can simply be and feel sheltered with little chance of others happening by. It felt like an impossible task, and I became very discouraged. What if the problem is that I don't belong in this part of the world? I tried to think of possible places, but every spot that came to mind felt exposed and uncomfortable when I pondered on it. This horrible feeling took over me and I felt frozen, unable to do much of anything for part of the day. I wonder why this task has brought on such a strong reaction?
  2. Do a simple craft project. Do something you can do and feel like it is an accomplishment, not just something to check off a to-do list [I'm paraphrasing].
I'll tell you more about how today's tasks went in tomorrow's post.

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