It’s lovely to wake with the pale light of dawn brightening the window. Waking in the dark is awful (my worst pet peeve: the tyranny of Daylight Savings Time.) I always ask my nesting partner, A, to leave a light on or open the blinds when he leaves for work – I need the waking world to wake me.
Speaking of light and blinds and A – we’re all moved in to the new house! It’s even better than I had hoped – I absolutely love it. (I just read back through my sparse, sporadic posts this past year to see where I’d left off last I wrote, and apparently “just getting moved in” was where.) Now, 6 weeks later, we’re thoroughly settled. Haven’t got pictures on the walls yet, and my craft/exercise room (which has changed uses/themes several times in my head during the unpacking) has not been completely unpacked, but it’s getting there. And it’s been a pleasure to burrow in, to nest, to create a home there.
Oh! I am saying “there” – as though I’m not there – because <ahem> I am not. The grey light I mentioned? Is coming in through a high window above and behind my head, where I am laying under piles of blankets in a bedroom in the top of an A-Frame cabin in the Shenandoah National Forest in Virginia. Ad is snoring softly next to me, enjoying, no doubt, not having to be up before the sun.
Shortly after writing that A woke up and made us coffee and I climbed down the set of steep, narrow stairs to the main level of the cabin to sit here at the kitchen table, writing with a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains rising above the not-yet-green trees. To get here we drove partway up Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park and then meandered down through Shenandoah Valley, thence 9 miles down a little road barely wide enough for two cars, crisscrossing a stream that burbled beside us on one side and then the other, through some of the most picturesque, bucolic pastureland I’ve ever seen. The “driveway” to the cabin was a narrow dirt track half a mile into the woods of the owner’s private land, that borders – literally – the Shenandoah National Park. One of the park’s lesser-known waterfalls can be seen and heard from the screened porch upon which – if it wasn’t 39 degrees – I would be having my morning coffee. What an amazing setting! There was no popping down to the local convenience mart for the forgotten creamer for my coffee, though.
This trip was an impromptu get-away. “Hey Ad,” I said, two weeks ago, “the weekend after next wanna drive 12+ hours each way to hike for two days in the Blue Ridge Mountains?” He gave it about 20 seconds of thought. “Ayup,” he said. And here we are. And that is one of the many reasons I love him so.
I had thought about coming alone. I did that month alone on the Outer Banks and in the Smoky Mountains back in the winter and felt comfortable planning another solo trek, but he has literally not been anywhere except to work, move house and assist in his father’s caretaking since the pandemic began. A long weekend away from the world seemed like a good thing for us to do. And it has been! We travel well together, and to be honest, this place is a little isolated even for me. I am glad for his company, and not only because the wood stove and video player (no streaming services here and wonky, clunky internet) were daunting in the beginning.
I had a hiking adventure last weekend too, actually. My daughter and I rented an Airbnb in southern Missouri and spent two days hiking – one of them a 9-mile day – in search of the wild horses of Missouri we had heard about. I have been down that way several times in the past few years to see them and never run across them – she and I found one of the herds easily both days. But as magical as seeing them was, the highlight of that trip was returning home each night, curling up on the couch in front of the fire, and talking. She’s wise for her years, that one. Also, it’s a pure delight listening to her tell me of her adventures recording her podcast, Just a Little Detour, with her roommate, of being a new homeowner, and of her adventures with her new boyfriend. We also planned a lot of our September Yosemite trip, drank some wine and crocheted a lot.
I am so blessed to have a daughter that *wants* to take trips with me – and with whom a conversation about doing a hamstring stretch turning into a discussion of getting leg cramps during sex is not an unusual occurrence. “It’s your fault, Mama! It’s genetic!” she said, when we realized we both get the exact same cramp in the exact same way. I love that we can talk about sex and our bodies without feelings of shame or awkwardness. It was during that trip, actually, that she championed the menstrual cup and urged me to give it a try. I am not supposed to be *able* to bleed – ablation and menopause, ya’ll – but apparently Mother Nature believes 55 year-old-me should keep being fertile in spite of the doctor assuring me I was in menopause and could get rid of my IUD. “Huh,” she said. “I guess you’d better get back on birth control.”
I blame 2020.
In other news, my local kink partner and I are on a bit of a mutual – loving – hiatus, while he works through some stuff. The anxiety that sank its teeth into me at the beginning of the pandemic has never really let go, and though it’s fairly manageable (most days) trying to deal with things with him and my own stuff got to be pretty challenging – and visa versa – so we called a time out to give us both space to breathe. It is the right, healthy and loving thing to do for us both, but it comes with its own challenges. I miss him, I miss our daily chats, I miss texting with him during the day and his arms around me at the door when he visits, I miss his warm body in my bed, I miss sex, kinky play and the structure of our D/s – at times I miss it all desperately. But I have also felt that tight knot of anxiety I had been living with ease considerably. I hope that he has the space he needs to figure out the things he needs to figure out, and that we both come back from this healthier, happier and in a better place.
Okay, well, I am off to get some hiking in before I lose too much of the day.