It doesn’t happen often. Almost never, really. But, last night I had the house to myself. My husband and daughter were miles away in Maryland for a lacrosse tournament (I am forever grateful he takes the ones with the long drives), and my son was away at a sleepover. So, after saying goodbye to my son and 8 or 9 of his friends who enjoyed two hours of relief from the sweltering heat in our pool after an afternoon of paintball, I dumped some shock in the water, gave the wet trail of feet on the floorboards a quick wipe with a cloth, and opened the door to my first guest to arrive.
Mind you it was not a large party. And, I wouldn’t really call it a party. A gathering of three dear friends is just about perfect in my book. No pretense. No frills. Just a few healthy goodies to share, a bottle of wine, and a never-ending string of animated conversation. It was just what I needed.
While we ate, we talked about dreams and meditations, visions and ancient sites. We talked about what we are working on healing and releasing, and the little and not so little things in life that sometimes just need the the space of receptive ears to find sense and peace. The minutes stretched into hours too quickly, but no one wanted to leave. It was my bedtime before the wine was uncorked, and we decided the chlorine had probably done its job of clearing the remains of 10 sweaty teenage boys.
Swimsuits we donned and we headed out into the heavy night air to take a dip. Orion’s belt hovered over the tips of hemlocks and fireflies danced under their boughs. A perfect night for a swim, if you discredit the mosquitos. And so we swam. For a good half hour or more. Talking about portals and fairies. Pyramids and frogs. Strange, disjointed conversation that made sense to us.
The human body loves water, remembering where it came from. What gives it life. Had it not been for those mosquitos, we may never have gotten out. “I’d be in here all the time,” my friends remarked as I confessed I hardly ever venture in.
And so I began to wonder, why not? Why is it so easy to forget to nurture the self? To indulge in the not so indulgent pleasures of life? The pool, after all, is right outside my door. I clean it weekly, if not more, for the kids. Why not for me? Especially at night, when the air is still and the night opens the veil to the stars and all that hovers beyond this tiny planet we call home.
Excuses are easy to come by, and so is the over-looking of the magic that abounds if only the eyes would see it and the mind and body take time to still. There hasn’t been a lot of that stillness for me these days. Summers are always busy, filled with being a mother. Squeezing in some me-time usually consists of a trip to the grocery store or a few hours of paid work. Mind you, I love what I do for work and teaching a morning yoga class often adds a greater sense of peace to my days, but it is not the same as really and truly just taking the time to be present in the moment with just the self. Or, in the case of last night, some really good friends who get you.
It was nearly 11pm by the time we made our way back indoors. I thought the others might want to call it a night, but after we made our respective ways back into dry clothes, someone suggested playing a metaphysical board game I’ve had for a decade but have never used.
And, so another our stretched, or rather sped by while our tired minds tried to make sense of the four sides of cryptic-to-us directions in-between near-hysterical laughter, insuppressible yawns and sips of wine. It was nearly midnight by the time we declared a winner, even though technically, by those cryptic rules, she had not really won.
I’ll be lucky if I sleep at all, I thought as I closed and locked the door, and headed upstairs with one of the dogs on my heels. It was way past my bedtime and my mind was swirling with the evening’s conversations. Oh well, I thought, no matter. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It had been a gift of a night, and I was happy to receive it.