How did I get here?, I asked myself.
I was standing outside, dressed in jeans and a down jacket- appropriate enough for the weather- yet wrapped from head-to-toe in a wool Pendleton blanket. I was smoking a cigarette and staring alternately at my cocktail on the deck post and the falling snow. My only light came from the streetlight half a block away, and the end of my cigarette.
I don't smoke, mind you.
And I didn't mean "here," as in a physical place; I meant Here, this place in my life where I feel like some change is about to take place, but I can't put my finger on it. And where I'm fed up with the waiting, where I'd like to catch a break for once, but where I'm scared to force anything. That Here.
Since my last post where I told an entirely true story and called everyone on Facebook assholes (Which, at the time, I said I didn't mean it, that people were assholes. That was a lie- I totally meant it.), I've had time to stop and try to identify what has brought me Here. I look back for clues and see these vignettes:
I.I am multitasking: laundry, dishes, making soup and the bed. I pull a stray hair caught in the pillow case, and let it fall to the floor. The vacuum will meet it later, I think, noting where the line of jet black has rested near my feet.
II.Question posted via Facebook: Remember your first day of something you now love? What was it like? Answer: It was literally a summer evening, and it seemed like the sun would stay up forever, and then an instant later I was under a blanket of sparkling stars. Questioner's response: Poetic...
III.I am looking out at the horizon, the Great Lake freezing over a bit more every minute. I can't even begin to comprehend the vastness of this, I think. I turn around and raise my arms up, celebrating the awesomeness all around; a photo gets snapped. I glance back at the lake for just a moment before I hear splashing behind me, to the side of me. Suddenly I am flat on my belly right there on the ice, reaching for the puppy's harness and baby-talking words of encouragement to him that intellectually I know he doesn't understand. Once safe on shore, he shakes the cold cold water from his coat and carries on as if it were a summer day.
IV.I am laying in my bed, staring out the window; I had forgotten to close the blinds last night. The window faces due west, and I'm trying to discern if the sunrise that's about to happen (it is 7:18 now, and the sunrise is scheduled-scheduled!-to happen at 7:43) is going to be spectacular or cloud-covered and sunless. The blankets are pulled up around me; I'm in the same position I was when I last looked at the clock, when I blew out the candle on my bedside table, when I last glanced at my phone. Trying to figure out if getting out of bed is worthwhile is arduous. The bed says, Your pillow is still waiting for you to come and rest your head. Let me take care of You.
V.I am sitting on the stool pulled up to my makeshift kitchen bar. I am curled up on the couch, fading in and out of sleep to the conversational tones coming from the television. I am walking through the woods in snow that is still hip-high in places, listening for the light jingling of the bell newly attached to the puppy's collar. I am laying on my back, covered with too many layers and bargaining with whomever for sleep. I am tapping out syllables on my pillow for another haiku, the words I can only say in my head (not ever out loud), or only put in print on social media at two-thirty or three-thirty or even four a.m.
VI.I am in the car, the radio is off, and the heat is on high. I've a chill that won't leave. The hum of the gears and tires on the road hypnotize me, and as I put the car in park in front of my work building, I have no recollection of what's transpired over the last 21 minutes/miles. Some days are like that, a small voice in my head says.
VII.I am walking in the street, the sidewalks still covered with the snow and ice from a different day, and the puppy is on his leash. I keep looking up at the sky, more stars punctuating that plane with each glance. I try to make out constellations without slipping on black ice. Stargazing is better when you're not alone, I think.
And now, I wonder how I got to this space in time, sitting here in a sunbeam that's streaming through my bedroom window, and me on the floor, back against the bed. Those things are all in the past, I tell myself, learn something from them and move on. Memories are the architecture of our identity, as the saying goes. What are you going to do next?
What does the next chapter in this story look like? What words will come out of my pen? Which characters will have a reoccurring role, and which will fade like those sunset colors I love so? And I guess that's the thing that keeps us going day after day, isn't it? The curiosity fueled by our innate human need for love and companionship, for mattering to someone, for validation that we are significant somehow. We look back on moments or memories for indicators, for the last piece of the puzzle, for a glimpse of our legacy.
I tell myself, You can't create your life story by living in the past. Focus on now. Focus on up there, on the road ahead. Your story will write itself if you'd just throw back the covers and let it breathe.
And with those words, I'm off to write the next chapter, one adventure at a time. Live your story, friends.