Monday, March 30, 2020

a place of choice...

The Bay

"If I could catch the feeling, I would: the feeling of the singing of the real world, as one is driven by (aloneness) and silence from the habitual world."
                                                                               Olivia Laing

My park is a gated community in the middle of Tucson. I decided to stay there till the first of May -- that sounded safer than Phoenix's Sky Harbor airport which already had stopped two sick Canadians a day or two before, then hours on the plane and taking my chances in New York/Newark. Then the phone rang last Thursday morning -- concern in my daughter's voice. I told her my reasons for staying which were solid. She put forth others. I said no. However, hanging up, one of her points hit me. What if I could not get home till summer or later -- that gets me into border and IRS stuff. I called her back, told her it would take a week and a half to pack up the 5th wheel. She suggested 48 hours. Impossible, a million thing to do -- buy a car cover for the summer sun, get my Mr. Fix-it guy to paint the awnings with sun protection, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc. My other daughter arranged to get my ticket exchanged.

In twenty-seven hours, I was on the plane home and arrived a week ago just under the wire. Now, of course, I am doing my two weeks of isolation along with most everyone I know. Yes, as I read the news, weeks now may turn to months while the virus follows its curve.

Someone observed last week, you must be getting a little wacky out there on the hill by yourself.  Not really, but it's early in the game. Will I be frustrated because I came here straight from the airport with one change of clothes and no files -- yet, potentially small annoyances. I may not see children, grands, or dear friends in the flesh for a time -- a higher price. (Family deliver necessities and there is no burden of worry thanks to them.)

Yet, indeed, these are challenging times and will only be more so, I expect for each of us, in one way or the other. Life was full -- family get-togethers, movies, eating out, favorite activities, and a lot of old ways of doing things -- indeed, a social life being stripped clean.  However, with these new circumstances, this new sparseness, is this not a place of choice, a gift of opportunity and possibly much more? My inner voice says, "Take it." The invitation is out, make an inner-dive.

This is a weird gift of difference in our lives, with its challenge of being physically alone or with one's house-mate or family -- being the extent of our contacts. Yet, it all has its obvious pluses, new adventures, new discoveries, as well as, its dangerous waters to cross. Thus I ask, where do I want to be in two months, what opportunities will be offered, what new land will I take, and what river within myself with its dangers will I cross?

I expect the most dangerous water for me to tread will be my thoughts. What currents will I let run through -- the small ones or the large? And how important to remember we are all larger than our feelings, our circumstances, our self-definitions, our supposed identities, and our roles. This is the creative place of choice.

Every thought is an energy that vibrates, that weighs or lightens my psyche. Thoughts create my reality, the environment, and will be the eyes I see and feel it all through. A simple little thought and where does it lead and what reality will it create?  My inner voice cautions me to be careful as thoughts are real and as solid as this table holding the computer. They have the power to calm me or upset me. They have the power to encourage a light and merry heart or depress me. Treacherous ground.

And then there is the gift of time. Two weeks ago, almost everyone I met, myself included asked, greeting-like, "How are you doing?" "Busy" was generally the reply or "I can't believe how fast the time goes." "Me either." Laing (the author above) observes, "Most of us are (usually) short of time and now we are hanging in it." Maybe these moments and hours in the next months can be considered a gift too. The world need not interfere -- an opportunity to own our time.

The manuscript is finished. This blog may get written. What else will I fruit in these days? A gift of far-seeing and near-seeing? A rare time, a space-time, an alone time. but not surely a lonely time. Am I talking nonsense, maybe?  However, as Virginia Wolfe observes, such times can be "intensely creative" and in them, one can "discover thrilling moments."

Last night the deck called at dusk -- rolling dark clouds folding in on each other, a cold wind, the trees bent, and a sky wrapping the earth with a magenta tinge. I had three hats on -- my toque, my overall hat with fake-fir and flaps, and a wool scarf wrapped around both. I was indeed a sight but I was mesmerized in this half-lit night, this gorgeously, alive sky with its wind tipping me on my toes, and the lights across the Bay were beginning to twinkle. It was like standing on an ancient, sailing ship, drinking in its alone endlessness. I was in love. I knew it.  I was home in a much larger way than I could imagine. And it wasn't the chalet, it wasn't Nova Scotia, as grateful as I am. I had come home to a much larger part of what? I suppose me. I am not sure.

Yet, what I knew was, "If I could catch the feeling, I would..." And there it was, "the feeling of the singing of the real world," driven by its own aloneness and silence.

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