It is 7am, and I have already been up for nearly 5 hours, having driven someone to an airport in Allentown and back in the wee hours of the morning. I left home around 3am and returned around 6am and made a batch of baked oatmeal that should just about be ready by the time the kids wake up. The house is starting to stir–Maile came down and joined me, the two of us talking quietly in the kitchen, appreciating the time. Now Abra is in the shower, singing. Children come down the stairs, one at a time. Leo crawls into my lap. I can hear Sam wandering the upstairs.
I had a lot of time to think this morning during those long dark hours on the road, listening to a Lenten playlist my friend Megan created on Spotify and then, later, listening to the audio version of Wallace Stegner’s epic, Angle of Repose. It is the story of Susan and Oliver Ward, their life in the early days of the West, their long years of trying and failing, trying and failing, trying and failing. It is a story of hope holding out for a very long time, and then when hope is finally realized, they discover that other complications have set in.
It left me wondering what I am waiting for. What long-held desires of mine are keeping me from this present moment? What stresses about money or time hold my eyes enslaved to the future?
* * * * *
There is the life we want and there is the life we have, and while there is nothing wrong with the wanting, if we’re not careful it can devour everything.
* * * * *
The sun is rising now and a gray light filters down onto James Street. Our porch light is visible through the barely opened blinds, as is the brick rowhome across the street. This is the only day I have. What will I do with it?
E.L. Doctorow has famously said that “[Writing is] like driving a car at night: you never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” Life is like that, too, I think.