Our family has just returned from our one week vacation from the four walls of our house. I was reminded how much a change of scenery can jar you out of your established routine and force attention on small actions and activities.
Even if that change of scenery is mostly just a different house for a week.
We are extremely fortunate to have the ability to drive to a new place and the means to take week for our family to relax and unwind. A week to get out of our ground hog day existence of the past five months of zoom meetings, google hangouts client sessions, zoom ballet classes and socially distant soccer workouts. I think we all felt a bit overwhelmed as we blinked into the sunlight on that first beach day.
I was reminded, too, of the calming sensation of ocean waves and a sudden summer rainstorm. Of the feeling of renewal that comes from new experiences and also the comfort and reliability of having those new experiences in somewhat familiar places.
One morning at the beach I watched the sandpipers run back and forth along the waves, scrabbling forward to peck for shells as the waves recede and scooting back as they wash toward them anew.
I think I’m too often like those sandpipers and not often enough focused on slowing down and just watching the waves themselves. The waves are calming and soothing and often remind me of renewal and continuity. Aspects of life that are easy to lose sight of in our daily focus on what’s next.
That is a thing about the groundhog day experience, it forces us into awareness of what is our routine. It forces us to think about ways of changing that routine when it becomes too much and ways to inject some unpredictability into days that often feel stiflingly predictable.