Aftera day and a half of being snowed in, dear husband went to work Friday mid-morning, and older son and I tried going to Ayr Mount Friday afternoon. The shaded, gravel driveway into Ayr Mount still had about 4 inches of snow/slush on it so, after spinning the van's wheels a bit, I backed out of the driveway onto St. Mary's Rd. (the other cars were staying well away!), and we went and walked around town instead.
View of Hillsborough from the top level of the parking deck.
I once heard of a family who described themselves as "being indoor people." With all the hiking and gardening I do, I've long considered myself an outdoor person, but I lost that this year. With all the exhaustion from the CPAP, I didn't get into gardening last spring the way I normally do. I didn't even get around to planting all my annuals. Since I felt exhausted for months (so exhausted that I couldn't safely drive in the evenings and taking walks was challenging), I didn't do much outside. I started feeling better about three weeks before opening night of the summer musical so I was too busy (and it was too hot) to do much outside, and then I spent the next two months (futilely) trying to catch up on all the things I didn't do when I was exhausted.
We were on vacation for the first two weeks of October, and it was wonderful! We hiked twice most days, morning and late afternoon/evening - rain, fog, or shine. The house had a beautiful view (panorama from the deck above) so we ate outside or I read outside as often as possible. There was a sheltered spot on the deck that I could sit in even during chilly afternoons (view from that spot of Grandfather Mountain) I got used to being outside a lot again.
I feel so much better when I get outside a lot!
The last three days, I've spent the afternoons working out in the yard. Yesterday, we spent the morning at the Durham farmer's market, and the garden store, and, this morning, dear husband and I walked at Ayr Mount (right).
I'm not in choir right now because I'm trying to get my blood pressure down again (it started drifting up over the summer. The choir chairs are close together, and the choir sits sideways to the altar. I've known this isn't good for my body because I tense up in order not to bump into anyone in the close chairs, and I end up with a tension headache because of keeping my head constantly turned to the side for over an hour. Every Sunday, I'd get home from choir, change out of my church clothes, and take Advil for the tension headache/backache/Achilles tendenitis/whatever was tense that day. Unfortunately, the thing I do regularly which makes me the most tense is choir.
Since both my regular doctor and the hypertension specialist have recently recommended relaxation exercises/yoga/etc. to help get my bp down, regularly doing something that leaves my body tense (in a way that exercise, interestingly, doesn't do), undoes what I work at doing for the rest of the week. I was sad to have to drop choir, but, hopefully, I can return eventually.
Over the summer (when there's no choir anyway, and even the service I go to is cancelled), dear husband and I got into the habit of hiking on Sunday mornings. The last few weeks, we've changed that to walks at Ayr Mount, a historic home in Hillsborough. I decided, both for a new photography challenge and to get myself outside in all kinds of weather, that I would start a new blog. Last week, I put it together. It's a new photo blog platform and format, and I'm really enjoying it. I love the way it displays the photos.
My new blog is 52 Weeks at Ayr Mount. Ayr Mount is only about 8 minutes away from my house so it should be easier to keep up with the photos than it's been for our Duke Gardens blog, which I've started posting on again also (but which will probably be more intermittent).
Saturday, we returned from our two week vacation. While we were on vacation, we only got on the internet long enough to check Ray's Weather Forecast for the Blowing Rock area. Cell phone reception at the house was very bad. Even the hikes were less populated than in a usual year. Because of the government shutdown, all of the National Parks on the Blue Ridge Parkway were closed.
Not prohibited, just closed...
...which means that there was a longer walk in to the trails from where the car is parked by the side of the road. Only the really dedicated hikers did so, which made for much quieter trails.
We didn't do much shopping this year either. Since we planned better, we had fewer grocery trips. Two days before our vacation ended, it was a very foggy, dreary day. That was the only day we shopped for fun. Dear husband and I went to just a few of our favorite stores in Blowing Rock,* but then we were talked out and headed back to the house for a quiet afternoon before another walk at the Cone Lake. We walked at the Cone Lake almost every evening.
Not that it was a totally quiet vacation. We brought lots of music, old and new. We had long conversations after meals, and on hikes, and while watching sunsets at the Cone Lake.
We read lots of books.
Yesterday, I mentioned to the guys that we had a very introverted vacation. Younger son replied that it wouldn't be a vacation otherwise.
Mary Chapin Carpenter's song was unfamiliar to me before vacation. Now, I know almost all of the words, and I can hear the guitar accompaniment in my head when the room is silent.** It goes along with who I am and with my trying to accept that (more on that in tomorrow's post).
I have a need/For cool verdant spaces/Beneath the trees/Secret empty places
It was wonderful to spend all that time on vacation out in the woods. We hike every day when we're in the mountains on vacation - whether we need shorts & t-shirts, rain jackets, or winter coats. I haven't spent that kind of time outside this year, and that's not good for me. Partly in order to get myself outside, regardless of the weather, I'm considering starting a photo blog of someplace local (closer than Duke Gardens).
On my birthday, I decided that I wanted to do some of the trails that we see, but haven't ever taken. One of my favorites that we did that day was the hike at Grandmother Mountain (right) on the BRP. It was a rainy, foggy morning, but we spent it hiking.
It cleared up in the afternoon, and we saw some beautiful views before we headed back to the house in the early evening.
But you can find me/When the light is changing/At that time of day when/There's little day remaining
The time of day she's describing is one of our favorite times of day, although we call it the "Golden Afternoon." When we're on vacation, even if we have a quiet afternoon after the morning hike, we always go out for another hike in the Golden Afternoon.