Two sisters, two coasts, one blog




June 22nd 2013,

Sacramento California

The clouds are gathering overhead today. The barometric pressure has dropped significantly and it looks like rain might indeed arrive. The summer solstice was yesterday – the longest day of the year – and it was marked by a bright hot afternoon where we floated on rafts in the pool and ate more than our fair share of popsicles. But now Mother Nature has shifted gears on us and, perhaps as a reminder of our place as pawns in the scheme of things we woke up to a whole different weather reality.

It’s the perfect day to put on a sweater, fire up the laptop and explore a condition that I’ve been pondering for some time now. Let me pull up my soapbox and I’ll begin.

 We are only ‘officially’ one week in to summer vacation and around here it looks like this –  school’s out. everyone is at home. all together. all the time. And an odd phenomena has swept over our household. All five of us have been restless, edgy, rude to one another; dissatisfied and disgruntled. Oh sure it always takes a little time to transition into summer mode but this has seemed different somehow; extra thorny and uncomfortable.  My husband and I were confused. We didn’t understand why, nor could either of us find something concrete to pin it on. But now I think I have.

Call it grasping at straws but I’m blaming this in part on the Supermoon. That’s right. The floods in Canada this week, storms in New Zealand , this weird grey overcast day in Sacramento. It’s all connected I say. The moon is closer to us and its  gravitational pull is greater on the elements. Even though experts say there are no proven effects on people during these heightened moon phases, I’m still not entirely convinced. Think about it: sometimes we humans have to admit that we are just specks hanging onto our hats as this sphere we’re grounded to hurtles through space; battered by meteorological changes, not to mention the blustery weather of our own personal lives.

You get the picture.

Here’s my thought – it’s just getting more intense to be living here on this planet right?. Things keep on changing. Like recent weather events have made us alert to the true power of nature, people also are noticing that stressful demands and pace of our western lives might not really be worth it.  What people? Well, people like me for instance. I don’t know about you out there but my family has been needing a  break for a while. We’ve kept a rigorous schedule all throughout the school year and now it’s time to be free from that. From the schedules, and the commitments and the all the other multitasking of modern  life. But that doesn’t mean it’s been easy to let it go.

Def: “down shift” :-

1.To shift a motor vehicle into a lower gear.
2. To reduce the speed, rate, or intensity of something.
3. To simplify or reduce one’s expectations or commitments, especially in work hours.

It’s the downshift  that sometimes is the hardest part; the change of states from one thing into another. I know I’m only talking about the start of summer vacation here but these whiny children at my heels are like weather vanes in a storm. They are letting me know in which direction the winds are blowin’. It’s hard to slow down, it’s feels disconcerting to move away from busy state of being to stillness or even boredom. But it’s necessary. Something different is happening in  my house and it seems today that it’s also happening in the heavens. It feels a little rough, and definitely bumpy but I’m sure that there is something good on the other side just as I’m sure that the blistering days of popsicles and pools will return in no time.

So let the winds blow through and the rains come. It’s the big collective sigh. It’s the loosening of the tie and the packing away of those stinky lunch bags gone until next September. This is a special period of time – the transition into a summer living, with all it’s wild freedoms and sunny worship. Today it is being marked by grey and lonely weather reminding us I think of the importance of balance. Yes, this is the downshift.

I stumbled across an unexpected definition thanks to our friend Wikipedia. Here is the entry for “Downshifting”.  To quote:

Downshifting is a social behavior or trend in which individuals live simpler lives to escape from the rat race of obsessive materialism and to reduce the “stress, overtime, and psychological expense that may accompany it”.[1] It emphasizes finding an improved balance between leisure and work[2] and focusing life goals on personal fulfillment and relationship building instead of the all-consuming pursuit of economic success.”

Sounds good. And although I believe this term normally applies more to corporate types who voluntarily walk away from big salary lifestyles, even a scrappy single-income family like ours can relate to the gifts of slowing down and simplifying. We sure are glad to be sleeping in every morning that’s for certain. As for simplifying? I haven’t cooked a real meal all week. Fend for yourselves kids! How’s that for finding balance?!

As I write this the sky is swirling with heavy clouds that seem to belong to another part of the country. Muggy, funnel-looking things that you’d expect in the mid West. I smelled the first few drops of rainwater on the warm asphalt. It was the scent of promise, of something new; a better way to be. Tonight I’ll wander away from the prickly family dynamic and soak in the atmospheric light of the enormous supermoon. I will listen for the winds of change deep within my heart and remind myself that this will all different tomorrow.


4 Responses to “Downshift”

  1. maureenoleary

    It is starting to rain right now. The tension breaking? Maybe. I’ve been feeling the same things. Beautiful post.

    • ruchapowers

      Thanks Maureen, THAT”S what I was trying to say, indeed something is needed to break the tension. But so far there’s just been a drizzle…no real downpour yet but I’m hopeful.

      By the way, I really liked your blog post on Summer and it’s similar picture of the slowing down process, yours sounds more delicious though. Couldn’t find a way to work that link into my piece but I’ll add it here now for any readers wishing to check it out. It’s worth it!!:

  2. Sandra

    I’m liking this weather change! I’m rarely a fan of gray skies but it is providing a feeling of comfort to me. Yes – like breaking the tension! Thank you super moon!

  3. ruchapowers

    This kind of weather is like my soul-home, being a Berkeley girl born and raised, it really makes me feel so happy. And any day that I can wear jeans in June is a good one. Enjoy the comfort of the day and…make soup!


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