Backyard fires go hand in hand with living in upstate New York. It's part of the Adirondack experience. If you've been surrounded by the tranquil mountains in Lake George, or caught a sprawling view from the high peaks, I suspect you know the feeling of such events.
An easy, simple peace.
Though I've lived here a decade, I've only recently come to appreciate these benefits, mainly through seeing the awe in my children's faces when they experience them.
Growing up in northern Jersey, I was not exactly a nature-girl. Funny looking back, because many of my friends vacationed in Lake George, and I'd question their families' reasons for purposely choosing to sleep under the stars. From a young age, I was accustomed to vacationing in places like Atlantic City, consuming flashing lights, seafood buffets and variety shows, ending the days sleeping to the air conditioned hum of a Trump-owned hotel room.
But times have changed. Don't get me wrong-- I love dressing fancy and pretending I belong in a VIP section. Still, I'm in a phase in life where following over-scheduled days, I want nights to be as simple as possible.
I don't think it gets any easier than wearing old sweatshirts, playing some music, consuming cocktails, and sitting around a backyard fire.
|My backyard firepit, 2013|
But for me, with my hearing loss, these simple fires have been anything but. With little light glowing on the faces around me, it's often hard to read lips, and also to identify who is speaking. Background music often swallowed the conversation, and within seconds, I'd be lost. I've felt bored, ignored, and often angry during such an easy activity.
Easy, yes, because most people don't have to worry about hearing around the fire pit. But also easy in that backyard fires are relaxing. Mellow. Enjoyable. Of all of life's activities, THOSE are the types of experiences I want with my cochlear implant-- the moments that are seemingly so easy to others.
I crave the simplicity.
Sometimes I have to stop myself to notice there's a difference, to consciously acknowledge things are going well.
And that's exactly what happened this past weekend at the fires: I noticed I was relaxed. I noticed I felt content. I noticed, for the most part, I was following conversation.
Is it easy yet? No. But it's easier.
And for now, that's the focus. A little less complicated, and a bit more peaceful, moment by moment by moment.