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After spending the better part of the year helping my son, we finally left on our long-delayed and eagerly anticipated trip west. The farther west we went, the calmer I felt. Monsoon season in Santa Fe gave me a rainbow every day. Nights were cooler and much drier than at home in Austin.

By the time we arrived in Durango, Colorado, I felt myself letting go and…

With no wi-fi service, I absorbed what was right in front of me: a gorgeous view of the mountains outside our windshield and a tiny little stream in front of our site, a run-off from the mineral hot springs just uphill. We could sit on the grass and stick our feet in 90 degree water whenever we wanted!

On a walk I passed an apple tree, its green fruit lying on the ground beneath it. Looking up I saw the tree was full. After picking one up and tasting it, I went into the office and asked the campground host if I could have some and was told to take all I wanted. 

I’m not sure they expected me to come back with a tall ladder and pick to my heart’s content, but that’s exactly what I did!

Apples were ripe everywhere. Trees were laden with fruit and people were posting signs and giving them away! I made a large jar of unsweetened applesauce and eight, small jars of caramel-colored apple butter with just a hint of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. You can still taste the creamy apples.

Some long-lost, and much-adored hippy-home-maker, part of me has resurfaced. In the prepping, slow-cooking, stirring, and canning, I found that “optimal experience” well-known psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, discussed in his 1990 classic book, “Flow.”

It has been years since I’ve felt this way… fully present, no pressure, completely content, time passing without awareness.

This morning I went outside with my coffee and picked two small baskets of fresh dandelion greens while the dew was still on them. My mouth is watering thinking about how delicious they’ll taste sautéed in olive oil and a touch of garlic, the way I think I remember my Italian grandmother-in-law cooking them over 40 years ago. I hope they turn out well, and my memories are correct. Otherwise I’ll be just a crazy middle-aged woman eating weeds!

I like this relaxed, no-need-to-accomplish-anything or keep-up-with-anyone state of being. I feel in touch with my Divine Feminine, my Inner Goddess, my Earth Mother… and I’m digging it!

☮️ Donna

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Donna O’Klock spent 35 years in the beauty business, talking, teaching, and learning. These days, she’d “rather write than talk. It’s better that way because I can edit.” She writes two blogs, and, and is the author of  Sick and Tired & Sexy: Living Beautifully with Chronic Illness.

Austin, Texas, has been her home since 1978, but she and her fiancé have downsized and are traveling the country in their RV.

16 thoughts on “IN THE FLOW”

  1. I hear you. I have been going crazy making tomato sauce. Apples are starting to appear here, but before it has been figs and blackberries, in unimaginable abundance. It is so therapeutic to do something like peeling apples.

  2. Oh my, Donna, you’ve described exactly how I feel about my current travelling situation! David and I had three weeks cycling the Wakhan Valley and Pamir Highway and that was a WiFi free zone too…and it was just MAGICAL. I didn’t get to cook much aside from 2-minute noodles – ha ha – but I’ve never felt so content or full of clarity in my life and almost had to be dragged down the mountain. Back to ‘civilisation’ now and heading to Southeast Asia next, but I’m holding onto that feeling as tightly as I can, we make our lives so complicated comparing and chasing ‘stuff’ and yet it’s the simple things that bring the most joy. Esther xx

  3. Strangely enough I felt this contentment after I finished chemotherapy. James and I spent lots of time at our Little House on the ranch. We walked the ranch, built the side patio with Texas blue stone and then added plants. My best girlfriends came and spent the weekend with me. I wasn’t worried about cancer; my hair was half an inch long and full of grey. I cooked, loved and delighted in watching my dogs explore their new territory. It was a great time in my life. I love that you’re tie-dying t-shirts and making jam and you settle in and make where ever you are home. Just love your posts from the road! xoxo, Brenda

    • Thank you, Brenda. It is so nice to read that you found pleasure and peace during your chemo… probably vital to your healing. Your little house sounds like it was the perfect, grounding, place to be.
      XO Donna

    • Hi Shari – Thank you… I am glad, too. My normal routine is to try to see everything.
      Perhaps I was just “plum tuckered out!” Whatever the reason, I am glad I was inspired to relax and create.

    • Well, Diane, go for it!!! LOL! Even if it’s just little mini breaks – treating yourself to tea and a muffin at a Starbucks across town – find ways to Just Do It. Let me know how it goes?
      XO Donna

  4. I hear you! Every summer we board our boat for months travelling the Pacific Northwest. No need for make- up! Relaxed clothes! Watching porpoises play in our wake, whales swimming by, eagles overhead, bears to watch onshore….Take a deep breathe and release. It’s heaven!
    We’ve been considering buying a RV and travelling south in the winter to get away from the rain. I’m interested in your take on RVing, Donna.

    • Porpoises, eagles, and whales? Oh, my! How wonderful Joanna!! My take on RVing… great topic, as it’s one we’ve been discussing (ad nauseum) as we’ve travelled. Stay tuned for a blog on just that topic!! Thank you,
      XO Donna

  5. I envy your relaxed and mellow flow. Enjoy! Oh and I have never eaten dandelion greens and my parents are both southern so I had southern parents, grandmothers and aunts. Unless I ate them and no one told me. haha. How did they turn out?

    • Oh, thank you, Clearissa. It feels pretty great! I don’t know if dandelions are a Southern “thing,” but Chicory (a member of the dandelion family) is. My Italian grandmother-in-law, in NY, taught me to cook them. First try, sautéed in olive oil – was stringy/tough. Second try with some broth added then evaporated, was delicious. Also put in a chicken soup. Yummy!
      XO Donna

  6. I love the smell of cinnamon and apples in the fall. Your post makes me want to do some baking. Only problem is now that I have an empty nest, I’m the only one to eat what I bake.

    • Hi Judy – first thought, don’t let that stop you! Bake and share is my motto! Invite friends for tea. Or bake and freeze.
      Living in the RV without a full-sized oven I cut lots of recipes in half since I can only make 6 muffins or a small bread. Let me know what you bake… and where you live!
      XO Donna

    • Thank you, Victoria. I hadn’t made it in forever, but I recently treated myself to a shiny red Dutch oven… and christened it with the apple butter. It worked beautifully! I hope you will get to make some soon, it’s so satisfying.
      XO Donna

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