Breakfast: milk, egg, watermelon and cherries. Coffee and catching up with the world. Some moments you wish you could hold onto just a little longer. But they're fleeting, like sunlight drifting across the table. And then it's time to go to work.
It seems to happen in summer. Often on the heels of a holiday. I get assessing my life and work and start wondering just what it is I really want. I do like my current job; I like my colleagues and I make a comfortable wage I have good benefits and I am appreciated and I can walk to work. I've got it good. But at times like this, my thoughts start hanging on to ideas about fulfillment. I'm feeling like I need to be focusing on a path.
It's summer – it's probably just a yearning to be outside more; to get the hell out of the office.
But it's good to remember that thoughts, like wishes, float across one's consciousness like evening sunlight over the sails of a passing ship. And the luminescence of a wish, like light on a sail, is enough reason to pay attention to it; to consider or reconsider the path you're taking.
Even if nothing comes from it, it's good to remember to look in; to welcome change; and to consider new paths forward. Summer's always good about reminding us of that freedom.
We're getting summer weather. 25°C today. In March. City people everywhere are flocking to patios to enjoy it while it lasts. It's not a stretch to think that we could still get a snowstorm. Because it's March. Ceri and I decide we want to take advantage before the temps dip down at the weekend and see if we can get on a patio too. We decide on some options and I will meet him after work. He, on his bike, scopes out the first two and texts me, "no go." He's going to ride up to King Street and I'm almost to the option we decided on there. I walk into the crowded patio and there is Kelsey. She and Carly were going to do the same thing. She has a table and so we join. A really fun, unexpected hook up!
I haven’t been writing much. If you’re one of my regular friends I’m sure you’ve noticed. Lists of beautiful things and posts of YouTube clips are not writing. I’ve learned to accept the dry periods and assume the “writerly collector” in me is needing this time to just collect experience. But it’s been bothering me – posting other people’s work and videos of other people are not going to bring you back, and I can’t stand the thought of losing any one of you.
Part of it is that I’ve been immersing myself in good books over my daily commute – and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. In fact my excuse for staying with this job which is an hour’s trip from my home has always been that those two hours of travel time every day are reading time. But the problem with immersing myself in books during this time is that I’m not paying attention to my favourite subject: that little space of world around me and the people in it.
By the end of winter I start feeling trapped by it – the darkness, the extended periods of painful temperatures, the ugliness. Let’s face it – snow in the city is only beautiful when it first falls. Then it becomes dirty mounds on sidewalks and on edges of parking lots and lining curbs everywhere. I’m all about the changing seasons, I feel lucky that I live in such a climate – but by late January, I’m finished with this damned season.
I’m sure it’s all related to a lack of sunlight. In fact I know it – after an hour’s lunchtime walk in bright sunlight today I felt heady, almost drunk. And the move to Daylight Time this past weekend has flipped some internal switch – I get to evening and find daylight and I’m noticeably happy. Lots of my friends are still complaining about that lost hour of sleep – I’m practically giddy for it; I’d gladly sacrifice two hours to have Daylight Time back again.
I wish I was one to write myself through a down or difficult period. The last few months of hunkering against the weather, coming out of the subway after work into the dark, the sequestering away from humanity and losing myself in other peoples’ stories – have all caused me to close off, and thus close off that well of stories.
During today's lunchtime walk I stopped and looked ahead at a length of sidewalk on which there was no snow, no ice, no slush, no puddles; just a clear sidewalk under a sunny sky. And when I stood there looking at it, I felt a sense of freedom I haven’t felt in more than a month, a welcome desire to get back outside of myself.
As I walked on, one of my favourite song verses ran through my head:
You say you'll give me a highway with no-one on it
Treasure, just to look upon it
All the riches in the night
U2, from Rattle and Hum, 1988
Let’s call that little simple little verse, with its image so humble and idea so rich, beautiful thing 25, and my theme for escaping the bonds of winter.
On the morning of the 20th day of posting found beauty:
Last weekend, before we got socked with this dumping of snow, we had two days of luscious, gorgous vitamin D. When the days are sunny in February – everyone busts outside. On Saturday I shopped and walked in my neighbourhood, and then later in the afternoon I walked via the beach to have burgers and beers with a friend and the colours tagged along.
A tiny little mitten, no more than three inches high, hung in a tree in the hopes that the owner's grownup will find it:
Then, into the park and up towards Queen Street the light softens. I admire it on the giant humanoid tree legs and their snakey tree arms reaching out. Maybe they're reaching out toward the last bit of daylight. Or to spring. Compared to the yellows and oranges down at the beach, I think this muted light is mystical.