It has been a trying day. For no reason other than this smouldering coal seam restlessness flares into anger at unpredictable intervals. The day has reminded me of all the patterns I am so close to breaking. The habits of other people that impose on my time will all dissolve into transition. Fade to the next scene. Please, God, let me fade to the next scene.
And in answer to this day, the evening resolves in the smallest consolation: washing up the supper dishes. Despite chaotic emotions and interrupted projects and incessant calls for help, I can competently, completely move dirty dishes from one side of the sink, through mere soap and water, and rest them shiny and dripping dry on the other side.
So forget the other hours. Inconsequential demands of time compared to these 5 minutes and this return to order and peace. I make myself a cup of chamomile tea to the rhythm of playoff hockey commentators.
The scent of pine trees waking in the ravine between here and there. An echo in this circular push and body crouching against aluminum frame. Coiled mimicry of metal. Finding the flex and strength of muscles in parallel with these angles. We are testing air, dust, asphalt against endurance. Endurance against terrain. Metres and kilometres expanding and crossing time with motored vehicles that misunderstand our intentions. They’ve never felt the release of sinew fresh from hibernation. They pause in perpendicular confusion. For us. The space between joints, a cubby hole for breathless laughter.
7:15 a.m. autumn dark sky. Three little degrees above zero. And I’m walking where there’s no sidewalk to catch a bus. The stop faces the Hyundai dealership, all bright and humming with prospective sales. I scour my slowly caffeinating brain to describe the light filling the glass walls of the showroom. This brighter-than-white, artificial-day fluorescence that fills car lots and hospitals. That disrupts circadian rhythms and tilts the world at cockeyed angles. Makes me feel I’ve been up all night. Again.
This intersection is busy. Sodium streetlights almost irrelevant in the steady pulse of traffic. North-south, then east-west. Right angles of the compass. Pushing past and past. And in this whoosh and murmur of traffic, the song of this city pulls at my toes, and each mouthful of morning lingers on my tongue.
The bus is half dim. All lit up at the back where blue-collar boys lurch in and out of sleep to the rhythm of new passengers. I’m the stranger in this seat. They’ve all taken this route before, and the slow exhale of a work-week condenses into chatter. We’re all on our way to a Friday morning, for whatever it means, whatever it’s worth. My hearing sidles into the next conversation and curls with a cozy grin against a stranger’s voice.
I find myself succumbing and not succumbing to the gravity of reviewing the past ten years. I have no top 10s, no list of favourite moments. I have rediscovered the value of steeping in the past, but the record of my personal tastes is less than necessary. I see forward momentum in the clicking of the calendar.
Meditation, following meandering paths, seems appropriate now. Escaping the weight of city life and people. Finding a place for myself among silences and snowflakes. I wrap myself in solitude. Slip past midnight into this new year.