I was just reading that Emily Dickinson called November the Norway of the year. I wish. In lots of ways right now. But, as Nancy Griffith sings, if wishes were changes we'd all be in roses and children wouldn't cry in their sleep.
It has been good to be away from my phone, I hadn't realized how dependent I am on it, and how much stress it can add to my life. For instance, when I write an obituary, there is a lot of going-back- and forth with the family on small details, or calls out to friends or co-workers, and rather than stay at my desk, and wait, polish the piece a bit, or better yet, use the time to work on the essay I'm hoping to send to the Alaska Quarterly Review, I walk the dog, or drive to town and run errands, with my phone, and take calls and texts on the way. (I pull over, don't worry.) Multi- tasking is totally over rated especially for creative people who need blocks of un-interupted time. A friend walking in the door is a good distraction, pings and rings, not so much. This week I wrote Olive Jackson's obituary without that "electronic leash" and it turned out fine, and the little flicker of anxiety I have when I'm on a deadline never flared into flames.
Plus, I had the flu and couldn't drink coffee so that may have helped keep jitters in check. I use my phone to check facebook, which fans that anxious flame of mine into a bonfire these days, so that absence has turned out to be a very good thing. Self care is my mantra for these times, and paying really close attention to what matters most--my family, friends, and community, and I'm praying more, and reading poetry and a very good novel, Ann Patchett's Commonwealth . Last night I watched two episodes of Doc Martin which is so funny and perfect right now. Singing is good, too. Singing with others even better. (It was great to belt out "Jolly Old St. Nicholas" at choir practice Thursday night.) As are dogs. In moderation. I had three big, shedding ones for the last few days. (Pearl and the two grand dogs. One is back home now.) The great thing about dogs is that they need walks, and food, and love, and in walking them, feeding them, and loving them, a woman's heart can be re-set.
Last night after I dropped the dog off at my daughter's house, I went to the brewery for a beer, and stood at the bar between a logger and contractor and the oil company manager, and they laughed when I made a joke about "greenies" like me, and so that was good, then I saw some friends from church who were worried. But we were all in the same comfortably crowded community place, right on Main Street, and we all felt right at home, and that, I think is worth holding on very tight to.
So today I will walk the dogs, then go to Lawrence Willard's funeral ( 10 at the Presbyterian Church) and then the Woman's Club Christmas Bazaar (10-2) at the school where there will be so much local art and crafts, and everyone in town, I bet-- and then, because I haven't been out to see the annual release of rehabilitated injured bald eagles into the wild in years I'll drive out to 19 Mile for the 1:30 ceremony. When you live here, you don't always attend the events at the annual bald eagle festival. But I do love animals, and birds, especially big birds like eagles, should fly free. What could be more uplifting?