I went to California last week and saw the opposite ocean. There wasn’t a beach but I won’t hold that against it. I once, in a past life, lived on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Atlantic and did okay. What else? I drank, I talked, I caught up with family, I toured a candy factory, explored a semi-ghost town that was 95% closed for the day, sat in a hot tub, scrounged for bargains at thrift stores, slept in, watched movies, petted a dog and two cats, finally met a no-longer-imaginary friend, ate well, flew the friendly skies. It was wonderful and the week sped by like nobody’s business.
The children were always in the back of my mind but they were in good hands. When I returned to work, I discovered I’d been moved to a new office. One with windows, albeit windows filled with cobwebs but glorious windows nonetheless. I’ve spent the last few days catching up on work and unpacking my stuff – unpacking in two places. I still have curtains to put up (to hide the filth) and a few pictures yet to hang but I’m settling in.
Every aspect of my life is slowly settling in and settling down (and we won’t discuss the surprising tax bills that add up to $1,000 but whatever; I’ll deal with those) and with the garden mostly dismantled for the season, I’m beginning to think about other things. Writing, for one. It’s been more than a year since I’ve formally sat down on a regular basis (or, really, any basis) and worked on a project and it just so happens that the students will soon be on a fall break which will be the perfect time to go back to the library and see if that old saddle still fits. I’m planning to couple this with another round of The Artists Way.
It’s necessary to have something other than holidays to look forward to at this time of year. Spring and Summer take care of themselves. They’re no brainers. Fall and Winter require carefully planning. You don’t want to discover you’ve fallen into a deep dark dismal hole all of a sudden. I need THINGS to do to keep that from happening. I need to be doing things, every day, every week, the same things – writing and reading and making things – so that these months will go by as swiftly as possible. The holidays are bumps on the line, like the commercial blips inserted in an online video. They last a certain length of time and then – big sigh – they are behind you. Still putting things behind me but focused on ahead. Ahead is good. Ahead is something that is not Now or Then. Ahead is progress and hope and small shoots of green popping out of warm black earth. Ahead is pacific.