I’m back. I’m sitting at my little dining room table, surrounded by piles upon piles of books, a couple candles. Ella and Amos and Bruce are on the playlist. The first peonies’ scent hang in the room like a light mist. The dog, on command, sits on his bed and folds his massive brown paws under him, grunting in pleasure. This is the end of Sarah and Emmett’s Day O’ Fun, which consisted of nature walks and book buying, wine sipping and bone-shaped dog treats. It’s a celebration of many things, not the least of which is shutting the door on yet another semester.
Pause to refill glass
And so I sit, contentedly nibbling on cheese, absently patting the cat as she weaves her way through the chair legs so as to avoid the dog’s interested stare. And I’m pondering…I have space to ponder yet again.
Every semester I do the same thing. I mark the closure of yet another four months of intense learning with a self-congratulatory treat. These days, I spend an exorbitant amount of money on books–after all, for three glorious months, I will have the time and space to read and relish whatever I want. This blog is the mark of another celebration–for three months, and shortly, forever, it marks having the space in my brain to think about things. The things I want to think about, not those dictated by someone older and smarter.
To be honest, it feels kinda strange to celebrate this way. It’s not been my M.O. A couple of years ago, celebrating anything –and I do mean anything, birthdays, holidays, last days, break-ups, first dates, hook-ups, hell, Tuesdays–meant a booth full of friends, raucous laughter, loud music, a little innocent flirting, a cloud of smoke and a bucket of beers. I still love LOVE all of those things, but my thirty-year old brain requires a little more moderation than my twenty-five year old brain, as much as I hate to admit it. And so, I’ve come to savor quiet moments like this one, where I can reflect and consider, or, stare blankly without any thought whatsoever.
I have spent most of the last thirty years in fifth gear–running just about as many RPMs as my little four cylinder brain could handle. Not too long ago, for a number of reasons, I clutched and coasted. These days I tool along in third. This, mind you, shocks my husband who sometimes bemoans my constant whirling and can’t fathom what high-energy Sarah might have looked like.
Really, though, my philosophy seemed to be that the more you did the more successful of a person I was. And by successful, I mean virtuous, likable, productive, intelligent–all the goodies. So slowing down, saying no–not only was it the equivalent of quitting, but it was like accepting that I was less good. And then I did it anyway, and I found something better than good, it was real. When I stopped running, I found temperance.
I can hear more, because I listen. I can see more because I look. I see and hear and smell and taste more of the world in general when I give it the time. The ambiguities and general murkiness suddenly focus in stark relief–not in a good vs. bad, or ugly vs. pretty way. I suddenly see the differences in real and counterfeit, authentic and contrived.
This started when my dad had cancer, mainly because the sweet things were sweeter and the painful things more painful. Some days a hello from a stranger would make me feel like the world loved me, and others a missed phone call became devastating. But feeling these things, allowing them to pierce the armor, sometimes simultaneously, made life richer and more worth living through. Throughout Dad’s illness and slow recovery, and rebirth as a new man, those moments of trueness are what kept us afloat. For me personally, I have found an inner strength I didn’t know I had, realized a confidence that I always thought I was faking, an assertiveness that demanded respect and a tenderness that, if not for it’s truth, would be pure cheese.
And so, this blog. Simply put, I’ll share those real things, those things that make me grin, throw back my head and laugh. The things that are so perfectly sweet that the pluck a little string deep in your gut. Things that are so funny in their amazing realness, that you couldn’t make them up. Just as real and true as the world made it.
So, to kick it off. Today, I’m enjoying a few hours without conversation, without engagement. I’m letting my closet introvert out to play, and she is rolling around basking in the silence. And yet, the wind is roaring outside, my dog is snoring, my cat is cautiously purring and Miles Davis is weaving his way into the silence.