A Loon, Alone
I was having a productive week before I left for vacation.
I wrote half a dozen blog posts. Nothing was planned; I just captured my thoughts in a spiral notebook and then made light edits as I typed them up. Staying so close to the page loosened up my words and lightened my mood.
I’d planned to keep the same writing and publishing pace while on a family fishing trip in Canada. I brought half a dozen books on the trip. I planned to peruse them while the kids played, breathing in the words with meditative breaths.
I did none of those things, of course. Who has a productive vacation with a baby and a toddler? People with live-in nannies, maybe. Unfortunately I can’t afford one of those, and I'd be too jealous to tolerate a nanny even if I could. So I gritted my teeth and wrote when I could, and tried not to worry that I’d return home with sludge for brains.
Present moment: Early morning; the toddler in his snuggle monster jammies on the back porch. The wash line is a bridge, and every time he passes underneath he pays me one acorn as a toll.
“Oof galoof,” he says. “The sun’s coming out.”
He eats an English muffin and I have a bran muffin and he eats some of mine. Then he bites his muffin into a car and drives it around the picnic table, saying “Emergen-ceee. Emergen-ceee. There’s a monster on the bridge.”
Writing daily makes me feel accountable and accomplished.
I like setting the expectation that I will come to the page raw and open each day, and then I will share that writing with the world. It keeps me grounded in the present moment, my eyes open to hidden connections and small serendipities. It makes the world feel a little more magical.
“Look out there. See that bird on the water? He’s called a loon.”
“Oh, yeah! He doesn’t have any family. That’s why he’s a loon.”
"You mean alone?'"
"Yeah! A loon!"
Obviously life will get in the way. I will go on family vacations and have to care for my kids. Sometimes they’ll tolerate the pen in my hand and other times they won’t. They’ll insist that I get up and hand them acorns as I pass under the wash line, because it’s their turn to be toll-collector. It’s their turn to take.
And I will comply, try to soften my jaw and open my heart, and resume writing when I can.
I was having a productive week before I left for vacation. Then I left, and I wrote only sporadically. It took me a while to regain my focus, and re-become a person who blogs.
And now I'm sitting here in the fluorescent light of my office, doing what I love. Recalling, in words, the way my toddler curled into my lap like a cat to finish his breakfast that morning. The way his hair smelled as I drew him close, and the way his warmth dispelled the air's autumnal chill.