I have so many thoughts still swirling around and I meant to get them all written out earlier. Instead I got busy with a few things, had a cold (which always makes me feel a bit disconnected), and generally have not had much of a chance to sit down and write.
Being in Asheville was amazing! From the absolute breath-taking beauty, to the small peaceful moments, I loved it all. I hope I can convey some of that now.
One of the most simple things I enjoyed was the fact that everyone called me Shayla. There was no hesitation, no forgetting, no confusion. I was Shayla to them and that's just the way it was. I know that it's still something people around here are getting used to. I know that some will always think of me as Shannon. The ones who matter most to me are trying and will keep trying because they know how important it is to me. There are some folks who don't "get it" but they make the effort anyway and that means a lot to me, too. But to have my chosen name come from so many people naturally? Well, that felt like a gift.
Nearly every day I went out onto the front porch before the sun rose and enjoyed the morning hush. There is something so peaceful about knowing that the place you are is compatible with your own energy. Mountains have always been that way for me. Even in Colorado, when I was very young, I could feel how much more my spirit resonated with the land. I think it will always be that way with mountains. The desert was beautiful and I liked much of it, especially how attentive you had to be to your surroundings. This area? Well, the marshlands are nice. But the mountains! Oh, how my heart sings when I'm in the mountains!
I also tried new foods nearly every day. Asparagus tips, Indian food, Chinese food, and so many other things that I can't even remember them all. I just know that when April cooked, I ate whatever she gave me. When she or Kam took me out to eat I tried something new. I didn't have any negative reactions to anything I had and was sure I'd have a lot to work off when I returned home (in fact, I actually lost 4 pounds while I was there). Oh! And I had a chai latte and decided that I just might like that more than coffee.
Knitting happened every day, too. Whether I was sitting in a cafe, on the front porch, in the back yard, in the room off the kitchen, or in the room that I called mine, yarn and sticks were usually in my hands. I even knitted a little at the studio after April put me through one of her classes. I finished a scarf, started another, finished socks, and worked on my shawl.
On my birthday I was able to talk with the most important people. It still felt a little odd to not see them, but it was okay. I still don't really think of myself as having a birthday at all, but then... I've felt like that for many years now. I feel so much more vibrant than I did when I was 30 that it seems more like I'm going back in time. Or, perhaps, it's just that I'm more aware of Life. Regardless, I am truly happy that I feel so good.
And, for our picnic on Mount Mitchell, it seemed that the day was made for us. The sun peeked out just as we were starting lunch. And, most awesome of all, we heard a raven calling before it flew over us. Then it returned just a short time later, so close that we could hear the wind rushing over its wings. A truly powerful moment.
And now I am back in Sandusky and things are somewhat back to normal. I took the kittens and Nala to a shelter so I have the use of my back rooms again. I got the dyepots steaming and filling the house with the smell of alpaca & wool. I have fallen asleep with thoughts of my loved ones and woken in the wee smas with the same people on my mind. I've begun a few new projects (one of which is clearing out some stuff from the house) and finished a few others. I've thought about my journal (haven't sat down to write in it yet) and other important areas that still need attending. I've realized that my jeans barely fit me (they stay up for a short time after pulling them from the dryer, after that I need to pull them up frequently) and that I don't have a dress to wear to a wedding (all I had are now too big) and that I'm happy about that, too.
Mostly, I have been thinking about how good my life is sometimes. And that I love the people I choose to have in it.