It is 8:52 AM and I am alone in my house. I rush in with the usual sense of urgency, keys jangling, purse pulling on my arm, slouching the jacket off my shoulders and – what?
The light in the living room still has that early morning hush, shadows mixed with brilliant swathes of light. But it’s not just the light that’s hushed. The house is actually quiet. No talk radio emanating from the alarm clock radio my husband usually leaves on. No little voice accompanied by the thud of rubber-soled shoes in the middle of the floor.
The silence is deafening.
For the first time in, I don’t know, forever, I have two hours and 57 minutes to myself.
I could hand wash those clothes I’ve left languishing. I could peel the shower curtain liner from its moldy seal on the bathtub and scrub it. I could transfer summer to fall in my daughter’s clothes drawers without interruption.
Yes, those would all be worthy endeavors. Useful. Productive. Jobs easier done without little people becking and calling.
But for the first time I am alone in my house for longer than five minutes, is that what I should do with my time? It might be what I want to do, or feel I should do from some deep-seated guilt (Where does that come from anyway? Heloise’s shadow people?), but I know it’s not what I need to do. I need to decompress, to learn how to shut off these urgings when I actually do have time to myself. It’s such a foreign concept, my mind and soul freeze up at the suggestion.
And while I do write even on days my lovelies are around, it’s always with one ear to the ground. And one hand in the snack bin doling out goodies. And half my attention elsewhere. Either that, or I’m writing in such a small window that it is with a laser-like focus, barring out the kind of contemplative meanderings that we all need to do now and again.
So I’m contemplatively meandering.
That is a damn good goal in and of itself. That could sum up an entire bucket list in two succinct words.
But aside from writing, I do not know how to do that. I can feel the needle and thread pulling my hands. I hear the chipmunk squeaking in the woodpile. Even the mold growing and multiplying.
I may not achieve the ultimate level of transcendence today, but there is the desire. That is worth something, right?