The lengths I will go to avoid writing these days is rather extraordinary.
I cleaned out my bathroom cupboard this afternoon, choosing to sort through crumbled eye shadow and rusted hair clips rather than face a simple writing exercise for an online class. Having cleaned out my bathroom, paid bills, and wiped down every counter in my kitchen, there’s nothing for it. It’s time to log into WordPress.
Certainly, I could do the exercise in Word or Evernote, not bothering at all to share it on this blog. But my near silence these last few months links directly to this exercise (at least I suspect so). I know I need to sort it out here, even as I quake at the thought of publishing it.
Write about your perfect day.
So simple an instruction to leave me so rattled. Is it because I know just how far my life is from that perfect day? But, in the spirit of seeing, observing and knowing with which I began this blog, here goes:
I wake before the sun, wrapped in his arms. He mumbles slightly as I slip out of bed, but I’m careful not to wake him. The house is cold, and I shiver as I slip into my clothes. These early hours are when my mind is most flexible, offering up images, words and ideas cultivated over a night’s dreaming.
While the computer boots up, I splash water on my face and set the kettle to boiling. This morning I’m continuing work on a story that has gripped me for some time. The story is eagerly growing, nourished by the rich soil of months of research and contemplation. As I take the first sips of hot tea, I’m already anxious to get started.
For a while I write without interruption, the words jumping from my fingertips. Inevitably it slows and I look out the window to watch the sky turn colors as dawn approaches. I see it and yet my gaze is really turned inward, wondering if I’ve articulated the morning’s idea clearly enough, if there is perhaps a better metaphor to illustrate my point.
At some point, he kisses my neck before heading out the door. He knows that mornings are a fertile, focused time for me, and that any conversation with me would only be distracted and frustrating to us both. Besides, he is anxious to start his own day at the job he loves.
After another hour, the sun is well above the trees and the chatter of the birds outside my window starts to intrude on my thoughts. I stretch and dump the remains of now-cold tea in the sink. If my early mornings have been devoted to the world of my imagination, the rest of the morning rests squarely in the physical world.
Outside, there are animals to be fed, gardens to be watered and mail to be retrieved. I also fit exercise into these morning hours, riding my horse, going for a walk or joining a yoga class. Movement and sensation help to balance out the silent, still toil of the early-morning.
After a quick shower and lunch, the afternoon is dedicated to my part-time job. It’s what remains of a previous career, five compact hours a day doing what I am uniquely qualified to do and helping my clients succeed in their work. Occasionally, I’m tempted to return to the writing that captivates my mornings, but I’m also drawn to this work. It’s satisfying in a completely different way and connects me to others. Having only a few hours a day to get everything done keeps me focused and motivated.
In the early evening, we cook dinner together. As quiet and solitary as our mornings are, our evenings are full of conversation and laughter. His curiosity and wit make me smile even as I sometimes role my eyes in exasperation. After dinner, we take a glass of wine or cup of tea to the garden. We may read or continue our conversation or simply putter about with one of the never ending tasks of harvesting, dead-heading and weeding.
Eventually the time for talking stops and our conversation continues on a different level. We have found each other relatively late in life and we cherish each touch, each sigh, each moment we are given.
As always, I want to stay awake a little longer. There is always more to read or something else that could be done. In the end though, the early mornings dictate early nights. As I fall asleep, I feel him brush one last kiss on my hair. “Sleep well, sweet girl,” he says. And I do.