Ready Again (Just Gotta Get to T-day)
I rake to Alexi Murdoch “underneath and orange sky.” I rake to Sun Volt and “let the wind take [my] troubles away.” I rake to Beth Orton where, “this isn’t a joke.” I rake until the cows come home, which is quite impressive, since we don’t have any cows.
I scrub to get the dirt out from underneath my fingernails. It’s dark enough to pass for coffee grounds at work, but still, scrubbing ensues and for good reason. In my hair: leaves, a few twigs, the smell of something ancient. My clothes: milk chocolate brown smudged across the arms and sides of my long underwear from hauling the tarp into the woods. It’s strange trying to hide leaves in a leaf-filled forest. My back: taught as tarp line, worked but not in pain, built but not bulging. My forearms: coiled like snakes, rubbery and exhausted, with the façade of being able to strike. My mind: upbeat yet toned down. Already I daydream of sleep.
At work I look for moments all day. I see glimpses – Sarah’s sweet hug and whimper as she ordered her usual (“a purity” – two shots of espresso on ice), Simon at his workbench in the book studio (under the light, I could see how pale the hairs on his fingers were, how fine his stitching around each section of pages, how patient his work must have been over the last two months), Angela and Ryan teasing each other at dinner (trying to agree on names for their new dog – it’s practice for having a child). But nothing pulls me in. I am spinning in my own mind.
Dear readers, how long have I been like this?
Feels like months now. Perhaps it is all the scene-based work I’m doing for the MFA that makes me reel away from the everyday scenes in my present life.
The scenes I could capture in daily life have not evaded me, it’s that my perception has dulled on them because my focus is inward. The workings of others have become periphery in this balls-to-the-wall grad school mentality. It’s not selfishness, it’s survival mode.
But I take heart in the fact that now, albeit a bit late, I’m noticing it. Perhaps my mind is starting to uncoil, like my fists and forearms by the end of the day. With some rest over Thanksgiving, maybe my field of vision can widen again. I’ll empty myself of myself to let the grace of the world around me pour in. It’s that place that I adore the most. It’s that place which I call home. It’s from that place that I write most meaningfully. The world give gifts daily. There’s no sense in lamenting over what I’ve failed to capture. But oh, I anticipate swimming in the thick of it again. I invite you back, world, I invite you back.