24 hours of solitude. It’s more time alone than I normally have in an entire year. It sounds dramatic but most of my time by myself is sandwiched in between work and sleep or in between other commitments for myself and my kids. And to have 24 total hours to think, to listen, to be present, well, it’s actually kind of daunting. I know most people know what they would do with 24 hours to themselves and I had a few household obligations to fulfill (dishes, groceries, light tidying up).

But I was just finishing lunch outside and I stood up and I looked at my flowers. I really looked at them. The daisies are in full bloom and though I worried the other flowers weren’t coming back, there are some Black-eyed Susans beginning to open up. I have these strange day lilies I’ve never noticed before and the rose bush I’m trying to kill is so resilient. The butterfly bushes are filling out after two years and I have tons of chives (the only herb I manage not to kill). 

I made some plans because my days need structure. And yet, as I turned away from the flowers, I paced a little in the yard. I felt a little lost. 

It is so easy to lament being busy, to feel a little crushed under the weight of stress and obligations, to feel battered by work or relationships. This isn’t that. I just don’t find or take time to feel lost. Lost to me is scary. And yet, feeling lost means focusing on what is in front of you, paying attention, noticing things. I try to notice something every day–I take pictures of the sky and the clouds and thanks to my husband, the night sky is my favorite thing. But really noticing means seeing what’s ahead. Because that’s all we have.

I would normally wordsmith and edit and polish something up that I wrote and make it truly lovely but I don’t feel like it today. And too often, I start writing something in my head and the words flow right into the air. I try and dictate it to myself or grab some scratch paper or type a quick note to myself. But that’s not happening today either. I just needed to capture this feeling of lightness–that I have responsibilities but that for the moment, I’m supposed to just be. My mother always said I was terrible at doing nothing but for another few hours I’m going to try.

I’m not even re-reading. This is a postcard to myself. 


About rglw

Sociologist mom writes for work and for pleasure.
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