Also, coincidentally, the day that my wife and I signed our final divorce agreement. A couple more weeks to go before it is finalized by the courts, but the hard and scary part is done now.
We both walked out of it feeling like we can start fresh on coexisting peacefully as parents, while building our own newly single lives as well.
I am sure that it doesn’t work for all cases, but for us, going with a mediator was a great way to make an insanely complicated process quite a bit simpler, and it kept us from going too far out into the thorn bushes.
The end result was an agreement we both felt was fair. And that’s important, because we’ve got another 12 years to go before our youngest kid is (technically, in the legal sense) “Grown up.”
12 years is also about how long my wife and I were together as partners, so… half way there, I guess? On different roads, but not so far apart as to lose sight of one another any time soon.
Tonight, I’ll pick up my guitar and have a proper practice session for the first time in weeks. Tomorrow, I’ll start digging myself out of all the work I’ve fallen behind on.
One foot in front of the other, one step at a time.
At least right in this very moment, the sun is shining bright, and the breeze is cool but not cold, and there is a wonderful combination of crickets chirping and motorcycle noises overlapping with one another in the most peculiar way.
Lately I have been so caught up in tying up loose ends that it has been hard to notice that beautiful new beginnings are cropping up in my life.
But it helps to remember that there are indeed newly planted seeds, though they need to winter over before they can break through the soil and get a bit of sunlight… that they are there and they are growing in their own quiet way, a little more each day.
With so much change under foot and over head, all that remains that I can call “me” is that which seems to hold steady through the whirlwind.
Seeing my own silhouette standing out against a sandstorm, I have never felt more confident in my ability to take care of myself, and to support my loved ones. I have never felt more grateful for the world of possibilities that the months and years to come will bring.
Yes, so much of the world is upside down and sideways right now. Yes, I can expect my own path to be rocky at best and perilous at worst. But what can I do?
Move forward one step at a time and try to find a bit of joy in each passing moment. Never has it felt so important to keep reminding myself of that simple idea.
Jagged rocks towering above, waves rolling below,,
Sparks splashing against orbs and oars,,
daylight dissolving into night.
You’ve been here before,,
hands sifting through quicksand dunes,,
reaching a far shore without a coin in your purse.
I’ve been here, too.
I was looking for something I’d lost,, looking for …
Finally taking a week off, for the first time since the pandemic started. Ugh, so long overdue. Looking forward to some rest!
A few weeks ago I stumbled across the Slowly social network. It is about connecting with people from around the world in a deeper way by sending long letters that are delivered with a delay. The farther away you are from someone geographically, the longer it takes for letters to arrive, ranging from a couple hours to a few days.
Like all social networks, Slowly’s design influences the way people interact with one another a great deal (For example it has things like the familiar character counter from Twitter, but it’s a minimum character count in Slowly).
For me, it has worked out great because I am absolutely the kind of person who likes longer, more thoughtful conversations that play out gradually over time. It takes a bit of getting used to the forced delay aspect of things, and also the idea that for the most part you’re matching up with complete strangers who are using the app anonymously. But over time it starts to feel natural, and is a very welcome counterweight to the noisy and often shallow world of Twitter, Instagram, etc.
For a few weeks, I had a pretty solid daily writing habit going here. Then, things got busy for me and I dropped it.
But it doesn’t take much effort to just pick things up again, so I think I will.
I’m not entirely sure what I want to be writing about these days, but I can discover that along the way.
The last few weeks have involved a whole lot of tedious (but ultimately worthwhile) chores, as I’ve been reorganizing my entire house and throwing out as much stuff as I can. It also has featured many sunburn-inducing bike rides, which I have come to love and look forward to on the days I’m here on my own.
The kids come and go like the tide. Adapting to that shift in energy every few days has been wild, but I am learning how to roll with it.
In theory, in a few days, I’ll be having my first in person visit with friends since the start of the pandemic. After so many months of phone calls and video chats and text messages, it feels weird to break the bubble.
In practice, whether or not that ends up happening depends on how much shit I can manage to shove into a dumpster this weekend.
So we shall see.
The boatman waits patiently where the sand meets the sea. A wicker hat is all that stands between him and the blinding light of the sun, but that’s all he needs.
Half asleep, the boatman rocks and sways along in his little rowboat. The boat’s unmoored, but it never strays far from shore without the stroke of an oar.
He passes the time by humming low and slow, some forgotten folk songs from long ago. He hums to keep out unwanted memories, as well as to ward off the distractions of daydreams. He is here now, in the here and now, and that is enough.
Some days, he sits on the shore alone, all day, seeing nothing but the occasional hermit crab and the more-than-occasional gull.
He was sure today was going to be another one of those days. Didn’t know why, it just felt that way. But then again, to him, being sure about things that would never come to pass was as familiar as an old hat.
A good bit of time washes away the heat of the day, as plenty of sand falls through the hourglass. But then just as the blues melt away and dusk sets the sky ablaze, the boatman spots an old woman, scrambling down the dunes and waving a crimson scarf in the wind to catch his eye.
“Going west, my dear?“, he shouts just loud enough for her to hear.
She whirls and twirls and nods back from a distance, moving in a way that both defies her age and reveals her timeless spirit in a single gesture.
“Better hurry up then! Sun’s setting! We’ll need to get out beyond the bluffs while there’s still an ounce of daylight to burn.”
The old woman scrambles some more. Within moments, she reaches the shore. The boatman takes her by the hand and welcomes her aboard. Then he unceremoniously tosses her an oar.
“In this boat, we all row. No matter how young or old. Hope you don’t mind, Ms.”
She nods again without hesitation, and together they carve a path against the waves.
TO BE CONTINUED.
On this day, I’m reminded that one of the most important responsibilities I have in life is to be a better dad to my kids than my dad was to me.
(So far, so good! But there’s always room for improvement.)