The throw of the dice this week falls on the sunrise of hardship, for all of us.
In my home there is one staircase window that faces east. Each morning before I descend the stairs I stop at the landing, to watch the day begin. The sun must rise above an assortment of tree limbs and trunks, and up over the mountains. By the time I’ve had my coffee, the sun has risen above these obstructions. I am now jerked awake, like a slight nudge a parent might give you, ‘Come on–wake up! You have school.”
I begin writing, but that shameless sunlight in my eyes and the dance of the birds are tempting me to step outdoors. When you live in seasonal climate, summer days and nights lure you out of your wits; why stay inside when there’s moonlight, a sage brush breeze, and merriment across the street.
The gradual awakening unfolds layers of thoughts, beginning with the anxiety of the times. The impending hardship of thousands, my friends, and neighbors, oozes out like a bad smell. Everyone seems to be slanting in new directions; some are going home where they came from, others take on another job, or moving out and leasing their homes.
Some mornings I can’t even look at the newspaper. The headlines read like Sunday’s promotional movie advertisements: BANKRUPT, FORECLOSURE, and SUICIDE. The shocking prick of national disaster is a surgical awakening of a disease untreated. There’s no time to waste, no money to squander, it is a time of reduction and refusal.
As minor calamities knock on my door, and creditors calling from India, I turn my head to the sunlight and resume what I have to do, and that is write. If you know me, then you know I’ve vanished. It’s the only way I can work, and I’m standing on my head happy that I have the solitude to do it.
Last week while I was upstairs, prone on the sofa figuring out a transition between two scenes, someone knocked at the door. Then they fiercely rang the bell. Oh what it is now I thought.
“Yes,” I asked the man standing outside. He stared at me while twirling a toothpick in his mouth.
“Are you all right? I’m from Safeguard Security we haven’t had any signal on your alarm. We came to check on you.”
I stood there expressionless. I assured him I wasn’t held captive or about to throw myself out the window, but he didn’t seem convinced, he lingered and kept looking over my shoulder. I hastily sent him on his way, and returned to the desk. I’d been rude; I didn’t even thank the guy. This is some kind of message, next time he’ll slam the door in my face.
Later in the day, if I haven’t ventured outdoors yet, I take a walk around the Plaza, and muse over the herds of tourists. I look for revealing expressions and conversations. I didn’t see panic and anxiety, I observed relief. Couples shuffled together, maybe holding hands, dragging shopping bags, and aiming directionless for a new snapshot. They stand gaping at the churches and shoot photographs while standing in the middle of the street. Vacation is bliss in the middle of discontent.
When I return to my desk, it is time to print the days work. This is always a ritual of great expectation, filled with disappointments, surprise, and sometimes a whiff of elation.
By now the sun has made its journey to the other side of the house. The back porch is like starched light, it burns the eyes and flesh, the immediate effect is callous. Now is the time to slouch in the chair, close my eyes, and rewind a few scenes back.
Hardship is like the sun, unmerciful when it is met face to face, and transforming when we are protected. The sunlight is absorbed into our bodies; the effect is invigorating when taken in increments. The light changes the color of the world, we see things differently, and so it is with hardship, we feel intensely, our senses are sharpened, and we appreciate the treats more so than in times of prosperity.
It all translates into less spending and more creating.
While I lounge in this old house, one track of time keeps re-appearing. It was when my living space was limited to one tiny room, finances on a string as long as my finger and uncertainty a nightmare that turned into a lullaby. It is that time again; and what we all must do is keep the adventures above the circumstances. Any dice to throw: