This is a personal blog post, that means it is just me talking about talking, and writing using writing. I feel a funk in me the last few days, but also an increase in my appreciation of stillness and quiet air. This comes from my walks outdoors around Burlington and along the lake’s shores.

On the Burlington side there is a walking trail that follows the beach and leads to (surprise) North Beach. This trail is parallel for a bit with train tracks, a fence keeps you from crossing over from the park’s greens to the tracks. This doesn’t stop the eye from seeing what’s painted along the stones wall.

Graffiti that says Caked in big blocky letters, by the trail along Lake Champlain.

Graffiti in different styles and colors are there. Some old and some pretty clean looking. There are some walls along the lake that are also painted, it requires stepping away from the trail and through the old skatepark. Getting close to the rail at the water’s edge. Looking down, the small waves slapped against the steel flat that held the dirt sturdy and straight against the lake’s waters.

The trail leading to the beach is next to the long beach, but higher. A dog and its owner play, throwing to the water and bringing things back. Splashing and kicking up big wet clumps high into the air with each jump and racing step. Whole body dropping back into the chilly water then bouncing right back out and out along the sand.

The leaves obscure their play, bright reds and oranges fluttering by as I keep walking. I move towards the green building out at North Beach that I saw back a bit ago. The views are great. The clouds are nice. The sunlight washing through and over the tops and curling under, but only enough to chase the shadows to the edges of their bottoms. It was a good light that makes you think, and your eyes bounce through their billows.

The beach at the end of the public property was empty. Chairs stacked under a roof, and a car lot without any cars. But there was a tree posing for me near the sand. Just standing tall by itself like it wanted to go swimming in Lake Champlain.

Bars, a railing, and the water. Clouds and a lighthouse nearby.

This is how I walk. But I do it with hums and crashes, massive sounds of waves and wind twisting through the form of music and books blurring through my head. Massiveness and sound blare between my ears and make my eyes flare and spin each way. I listen to audiobooks when I walk. I listen to podcasts. I listen to those and everything behind them as I walk by.

Why would I do this? Because it creates an incredible contrast. Silence is amazing, and peace and calm are great. I can’t do it all the time, but on my walk I unplugged when I made it to North Beach. So I could absorb and soak up the sky and sand whole.

A tree wanting to swim on a cloudy day. Alone on the beach.

This isn’t the only reason that this comes up. Sometimes you blare sound when you hit a slump (don’t be worried, I am good and okay).

When I talk about a slump, I don’t mean a rut or depression in the sense that I usually have either of those. I am just talking about having a funky week where work is a little harder. Where you need to sleep because a migraine pops up, and it isn’t an interruption, the migraine is a logical next step in the weeks agenda.

This isn’t bad. It just happens sometimes when you’re working hard and need a break longer than two days long at the end of the week. This means that I had to take a lighter week when it came to homework, which my good grades allowed to happen. Only because I worked so hard to keep good grades meant that I got to have a week where I could breathe a bit and tend my guts being so sensitive.

My desk while finishing up this blog post. Books nearby, drafts of stories on a pile, and a notepad ready for note taking and idea springing.

I just hope that people with similar feelings on week nine of classes have the ability to slow down a bit and let their funk air out. I understand the frustration of being overwhelmed and stressed to the point of anxiety attacks (last semester gave me that). When that happened I had the benefit of seeing a doctor, getting medicated, and having the support system that makes it possible to take a multiple week-long rest. With a month until residents head back home from campus, and a little longer until winter break, I hope that everyone makes it their successfully. I hope they make it there and get the rest they deserve for all of the work they have put in this Fall.

What does resting mean? It is different for everyone. I like a mix of creative short projects and sleeping. This includes enjoying movies in marathons and reading stacks of books while taking in the outdoors. Doing the work of refuelling my brain creatively, and giving myself the time with my partner and quiet without any work to untwist my heart and shoulders. Sometimes I do these in different weird percentages. The summary is that it is different for everyone, and it can be different every time you find yourself in it and needing to get out.

That is what comes before upswings!