Getting There

Occasion 1
Time: Last week, on the last official day of the craft school’s summer session.
Location: The porch of the Dye Shed on the craft school campus
View: Open fields atop Conley Ridge, llamas included. Unfolding hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains beyond that.
Company: Fellow craft school staff members, a few local artists, and platefuls of amazing food from The Pines (craft school dining)
Beverage: Bombay Sapphire gin and tonic, served in handblown glass tumblers
Insight: I do not just work with my boss that I don’t get along with at the coffeehouse. I work on a larger team of amazing, talented, bright, curious, and innovative artists and thinkers. This is the end of summer and the beginning of sanity on campus. Things will be more manageable from here on out. I can relax now, and shift my perspective.

Occasion 2
Time: Yesterday morning, working solo at the coffeehouse on our special Fall Break hours
Location: Coffeehouse
View: Over the top of the espresso machine, through the paned windows, I can see the top of Conley Ridge and the morning’s first rays burning off the fog above the fields.
Company: All staff members, all relieved that summer is over, all in need of fine espresso beverages that I am there to make for them.
Beverage: I was drinking iced Toddy w/ soy
Insight: I knew everybody in the room, what they drank, and how to make them smile. That’s a pretty great position to be in. And what else? They all said thank you and meant it.

Occasion 3
Time: This afternoon and evening.
Location: The dojo.
View: The kamiza—our Shuri gate to pay respects to the lineage of our school of training.
Company: A row of karateka and Hanshi, one of the best teachers I’ve ever had.
Beverage: N/A.
Insight: I’ve been helping out with kids class for a few weeks and will up my attendance this month to help Hanshi (Sienna has started college and her first part-time job and isn’t in class anymore). Today, I found ways to help that were non-obtrustive to Hanshi’s style and genuinely helpful to the kids. Hours later, after adult class and 80 minutes of kamenokata (grappling), we were all changing to go home and Hanshi told me I did a great job helping out, even patted me on the back and said he was really grateful for the work I did with the kids. On my way out, I paid Dori $30 extra dollars for the additional kids classes I’ll be attending this month. I might be helping, but I’m learning, too, and the least I can do it pay for my time there. It felt good to do the right thing and to want to do it.

Occasion 4
Time: Tonight, for about four hours.
Location: David and John’s gallery in downtown Tinyville
View: Sitting on the gallery porch, we could see he main street in Tinyville, a used car lot across the street, and all the stars of the Blue Ridge in the sky beyond that.
Company: David, John, Wesley, Karen.
Beverage: An Argentinian Malbec
Insight: I have friends outside of the craft school and outside of the dojo and they make my experience here in Tinyville more real. I can’t forget this. I am not the person who serves coffee and goes home to hide and write—even though that is what I have been doing pretty much nonstop since I graduated (and, well, the two years I was in school). I have a balanced life, or the capacity to lead one and it’s nights like this that help me remember.

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