Sunday, December 29, 2013

Week 52 of the 52s...The Recap

I really don't know where to start in recapping this incredible experience.  It's been amazing, exciting, scary, grueling, with just enough failure to make the successes even more appreciated.

Last December, about this same time, I read an article about two women and their adventures in expanding horizons, broadening the scope of daily living.  It struck a chord with me.  I had been two years a widow, still a stranger in a strange land with all my friends and Alan's family in Scotland.  I was alone on a mountain with two dogs, a house too big for one...and spending way too much time lost in the dark inside my head.

I decided to make myself step out, do something new each and every week, though being in a very small town, far from the variety and choices in city living, might be a real obstacle to accomplish such a feat.  In Edinburgh I could have found things to do every day, but in a tiny hamlet in the wilds of Southern Oregon?  I didn't know.

But as it turned out, that's what made the 52s so cool.  I had to really try, really put effort into finding the new in each week's adventure, research events, talk to the ladies at the Visitor's Center, ask my neighbors.

In the early weeks I remember being timid, nervous, more than once forcing myself to keep going.  A few times I just tossed the boys in the car and drove for miles, meandering the unfamiliar country roads.  Sometimes I would talk to Alan, sometimes I would cry, but still I kept going, week after week.  And a curious thing happened along the way.  It got easier, I got stronger.  I began to look forward to each week, I regained my confidence, began to feel less a stranger and more an explorer.  

I entered a photo exhibition and one of my photographs was selected to hang in the Arts Center gallery; found all the covered bridges in the area; made Cafe du Monde beignets and ate them whilst drinking French Quarter chicory coffee; went to the theatre by myself; stumbled across a wilderness trail and an elegant bridge over the tranquil waters of the Little River; went to art shows and festivals and the Farmers Market; made Limoncello from a recipe I got in Capri.

My failures were always recipes.  When I would have a week where nothing came to mind or the weather was too dreadful to venture out, I would dig out a recipe, find something I had always wanted to try.  Two epic fails were the Naan bread, burned lumps of horridness, and the sweet potato/carrot/rice flour dog biscuits that Max wouldn't eat--a dog that would eat anything--and that Ozzy threw up all over the living room carpet an hour after swallowing one little piece.

It's slightly on the awesome side of things that I not only found something new and (mostly) fun to do each week, but I actually finished the whole year without missing a single one.  I learned much about the area where I live, found beauty in the quiet hum of my tires on country byways, savored foods from Louisiana to Mexico, and took risks even when I didn't want to.

So, a random moment last year reading an article gave me the idea I could perhaps expand my world, clear the tunnel vision from my eyes and explore new things, and maybe, just maybe, somewhere along the way, I might find myself again... 

It worked.

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