Sometimes all it takes is diving into the unexpected. Our apartment was going to be occupied during the weekend because we were thinking that we would spend the weekend at my grandmothers house. Only – all of a sudden – we weren`t .
My grandmother, who always received all of our big family, friends and even friends friends warmly in her big house, a hot soup on the stove and fresh flowers on the bedside tables, wasn`t feeling up to it. Shortly before turning 90 in February, she found herself week and anxious, something we all ascribed to the ‘big day’ but has never left her fully since. Being thrown back to the little girl I intuitively become towards her, I refused to acknowledge this new situation and the possibility of her being anything but happy with us coming didn`t even occur to me until she found the courage to tell me herself.
So here we were, with no travel at hand, an empty bank account and in need of a place to stay. As I have my family and friends in town, a place to crash is usually never a big deal, only we had been in a similar situation just the weekend before (different story…) and the incredulous tone in my mothers voice made me feel like it was appropriate to take charge of things instead of relying on others. Only – I didn`t know how.
I have traveled extensively in my life, always being on the adventurous side, exploring the far and unknown, never afraid of facing new, even challenging situations but somehow this resourcefulness often leaves me when I am at ‘home’, dealing with day to day matters. Plus, our living situation is loaded with emotion and eagerness since my love will return to the US in just about one week for what will probably be a year or more, neither of us knowing exactly how things will develop or when we will see each other again, departure being in every pore, coloring the minutes and seconds of our remaining time and making my head more often than not spin with thoughts and feelings.
Gladly, I love a man who knows me through and through, and has a big enough heart and a creative enough mind to work for both of us at times when I am lost. Following my wish to do something special, something that connects us to each other while being grounded in nature he came up with the idea of camping – something that being dulled in the idleness of routine would never have occurred to me in that moment.
After some online research we came up with a plan: we would spend our weekend at a beautiful little campsite nestled into a lush Bavarian landscape, on the banks of a lake, less than an hour away by public transportation, within walking distance of the train station. This said and done, we spend the morning preparing the apartment, packed our things and my camping gear that I kept for long abroad travels and made our way to the station.
As soon as we left our house things started to shine if different shades, the colors brighter, the grass greener, the flowers between the train rails holding the promise of wild nature, red carriages sliding smoothly through the landscape, bringing us to our chosen home for two days. My heart was fluttering with excitement and love for life.
Arriving at the train station there was nothing but fresh air, sunshine on high grass, birds chirping, a field of flowers to cut and take home for a few coins, the pathway to the campsite alive with insects and shimmering heat.
At the campsite, a down to earth, trusting, familiar atmosphere welcomed us, and despite the site being fully booked with families from all over Europe spending a few days by the water there was a serenity and calmness to it that made me instantly feel at home. We unpacked and installed ourselves, a tiny blue tent under lush shades of green, and started to explore. It was perfect.
Trees offering shade, the water crystal clear and blue, descending slowly into depths, an almost Caribbean touch to it, with grey and white stones at the lakes bottom reflecting the sunlight. In the distance, people on SUP paddleboards gliding on the water, a yoga platform with classes held on weekdays, and a little restaurant by the lakeside offering deck chairs to enjoy a cold drink, with a promise of fresh fish later that night on a chalkboard sign.
For the first time in what felt like months there was nothing to do but to feel, listen, smell, and linger, listening to our hearts and giving our minds a rest. We spend the day reading, dipping, swimming and sunbathing, slowly peeling of layers of expectation, advance planning and duty until we could feel ourselves relax and let go, a sublime but yet intense feeling of surrender.
Once hungry we ate grilled fish fresh out of the lake, savored Bavarian beer nestled into a pair of deck chairs while we watched the sun settle over the lake, with changing tones of red and lilac, a divine stillness only interrupted by drops of waters forming circles on the lakes surface. The humming activities of the day had come to a rest and with all the day visitors leaving the site, only those who stayed overnight remained and went on with their nightly routines. Back in the tent, we opened the hatch so that we could watch the stars and while I was brimming with excitement like a little girl we made our wishes to a shooting star, my love endearingly hushing me to sleep, a bubble of safety and trust muffling me softly.
The next morning I woke early and while I made my way to the bathroom, the lake and everybody else seemingly still asleep, with a lonely fisherman and a few baby ducks by the lakeside witnessing dawn in tranquility, a colorful rainbow spread out over the water, meeting the woods at the other end of the shore. Perfection, again.
A little later that morning I chose a wooden deck to meet the day with yoga asana practice, my love witnessing my every move with loving affection from a little bench by the shore, completely indulged into the beauty of it all.
Slowly people started to come out of their tents and caravans, children being the first messengers of a new day full of adventures lying ahead of us and while everything lingered at the borders of my consciousness, I heard a family playfully marveling at my armbalances, befriending my love. Yoga asana practice is graceful to watch, in its dance like quality and while it is not about the form or looks of it, nor about showing what you can do I often feel that people instantly connect to the depth of this practice, honoring it in one way or another.
Shortly before Savasana, I saw a little girl out of the corner of my eye and when I turned my gaze to meet hers she asked me with the impartiality that marks a happy childhood how old I was. When I said “32” her eyes widened and she replied reassuringly “Well, you`re quite flexible for your age!” and wandered off again. After Savasana, however, I felt her presence and when I looked around I found her with two girlfriends sitting in a circle around me, patiently waiting for my practice to finish. As it turned out, they had followed my moves in silence, practicing along and now wanted to inquire about yoga and who I was. A day has never started more charmingly.
Coffee and cake, sunshine and water, books and thoughts, later that day a friend visiting us with her two lovely children, and when the sky started to turn dark, announcing rain, we packed up again, returning back to town with a heart full of love, light and laughter. Sometimes all it takes is a new perspective, to shake of what shades our light so that we can truly follow our hearts, with life unraveling itself in all its beauty, its colors and its playfulness. Sometimes all it takes is diving into the unexpected.