During the last month of July, I’ve attempted to take most of the month off from doing Voice Over work. I’ve traveled and renewed my commitment to my family and to this fascinating and often frantic-paced career I have chosen for myself. In my next blog, I’ll write about an amazing set of circumstances when I resumed work in August. There, that’s your teaser, so I hope you’ll check in later…
One of the special moments in July was when I found myself tucked away in a beautiful corner of the world, the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina. I never visited that part of the country before, unless you count the 24 hour whirlwind trip I made for my nephew’s graduation from UNC a decade ago. This time, I was simply a tourist as I was asked by my son to accompany him on a business-related trip. Since that in itself is a pretty-awesome thing, a son who enjoys his mom’s company (and I’m taking a wild guess here, but I assume his girlfriend was unavailable since we left mid-week), I decided to go with him.
I was struck by how much green there was. Pine trees, rolling hills, and lots of undeveloped acreage was a welcome site, as my own life typically revolves around living in a highly suburban area, just outside of Washington, D.C.
At 26, my son served in the Army during the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom with the Special Forces. When he finished his time in the Army, he worked hard to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Business with additional Cisco certifications, specializing in cyber-net security systems. So, there I am in the hotel while he is working, and I purposely do not have my recording gear with me. OK, I just had to bring along my iPad and my cell phone or else I’d be in total techno withdrawal. I’m used to keeping up with the outside world via the internet. However, this is my forced R & R. My dear husband is home, manning the home front with our two remaining sons, two dogs, and two cats. I have the time to myself during the days to explore.
Instead of pouring over marketing literature of fun places to go and exciting things to do that you can find in the lobbies of most hotels, I decided to be adventurous by asking the folks at the concierge desk where their favorite place would be to visit if one had only 36 hours in their area. Mind you, the weather was about 100 degrees, so I wanted a variety of inside and outside ideas to choose from. After a pleasant conversation, filled with some lovely suggestions, I set off on my first destination. I tend to choose the “off-the-beaten-path” places, so I can savor my time away from the mad rush of the crowds.
My first choice was easy. My mother is a master gardener, really. She was trained and certified in FL, once she retired from teaching. Her green thumb is legendary. I, on the other hand, must consult with the local greenhouse every step of the way to grow a house plant. Some knowledge I wish was just inherited. It seems I have a deep appreciation for all things flora, respecting the knowledge and wisdom that go into making a garden work. I tend to take more pictures of cool landscaping designs than my family…I digress.
I set off for the Raleigh Municipal Rose Garden that was located at 301 Pogue Street in Raleigh. It was located on a small street tucked away from the main street. When I pulled into the parking lot, it was almost noon. There were no cars there, a huge outdoor amphitheater, a municipal building…hence the name of the place…and a historic rose garden “featuring 1200 roses of 60 different varieties.” Oh, my gosh. There I was, standing in heaven, and I had it all to myself. Gorgeous arbors of white roses created a walk-through natural tunnel that horseshoed the end of the garden. Lush reds, yellows, pinks, and every color in-between were blooming and blooming in the mid-day sun. The design of the garden was artfully arranged including a small child statue holding a large clam shell with a peaceful fountain in a tiny pond. It was simply the most beautiful place, a rare, quiet gem of a place, that was there, free to savor and enjoy.
Somehow, standing there, I was struck by the parallel of how we seek to find beauty and goodness, but it exists within ourselves every day. We need to stop and look around, and be thankful for each day, and the treasures it brings. These roses were cultivated with someone’s dedication and effort. I was able to enjoy them. If you look carefully at the photo, you’ll notice the slight browning along the edges. In spite of the extreme heat, this bloom was open to the day, just like me. In spite of the heat, it blossomed, just like me. No one had to give it a deadline, it just managed to do it’s thing, just like me.
In the coolness of the fall, the dead of the winter, and the fresh-start into spring, I plan to keep this summer rose garden feeling close to my heart. No wonder it’s a timeless saying that people need to stop and smell the roses. That day, I really did. I wanted to share this with you, because my wish for you is to have the same wonderful feeling of joy and appreciation of just living in the moment.