Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Sun and Fog in Late July


Here we are, this place, this day.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Joy in Work

It's the little things, mostly. Duty. Integrity. Lately, they really have been bringing me joy.

For example. 

Yesterday, workers showed up for an appointment, did their work (and more!), chatted and listened to us respectfully, and solved some problems. They even celebrated, in an appropriately distanced way, with us when they had finished.

More than a year ago, an worker collected a file, as was her job, and put it where it was supposed to go. Almost two years ago, other workers watched disturbing events happening and recently chose to tell the truth. We are hearing from them and people like them.

A little more than six months ago, technology with roots deep in the 1990s bore fruit, and recently, we all got to see that fruit and can watch it continue to thrive. 

Some days, joy is hard to come by. Sick people get sicker. A sick planet ditto. Household systems, and the households surrounding them, age and eventually fail. Always. 

Birch trees, like lilies of the field,
neither toil nor spin, yet remain
reliable sources of joy.

Most research DOESN'T bear useful fruit, if by "useful" you mean world-changing. But it was "useful" to the person who did the research. It might be "useful" in a grander sense, to someone else, twenty years from now. It might not.*

Most of what lies in official files may remain curiosities or simply data, not especially vital information. Same with office interactions. But the person who did the filing and reported the disturbing events did their jobs with integrity.

Most of what the workers did for us yesterday may be moot in only a few months. But the house and household are better today for their presence yesterday.

I'm lucky. I can say that the work I do today is good -- it's good for me to do, even if it never becomes valuable beyond that. Making the bed, doing laundry, revising my words, working on others' words, enjoying words, even hardboiling eggs for a future breakfast. All good.  

That knowledge brings me comfort, and sometimes the knowledge, or the work itself, brings joy. And that's enough.


* And yes, I keep thinking about dementia research, and that neurology researcher, along with her team of lab techs, who are acting with such integrity. Who give me hope.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Today in Gratitude

For a few years, I've started the morning (after water and coffee; let's not be ridiculous) with a notebook and a pen. I review yesterday and prep for the day. 

("People" say to do this at the end of the previous day. That makes me anxious. I'm doing me.)

One element of this time is a list of three things for which I'm grateful. I have excluded some items from this list (my husband, coffee) except in special cases, because I'm grateful for (and to) them every day. 

The purpose of the exercise -- and I have to say, it has helped during these past seven or so years -- is to notice NEW things to be grateful for.

Recent items from my list: dental insurance, people in positions of power and authority doing the right things in public, being my own boss (haha), and sunny mornings. I also often gauge the quality of sleep the previous night, because it helps me set reasonable expectations for the day.

And yet, those lists don't tell the whole story. Here are some things I left out. 

I had dental work, which I'm not quite ready to be grateful for yet. (In A Wrinkle in Time, Meg knows if she loves that thing, it would be destroyed, but she can't, so she focuses on loving Charles Wallace instead. That's how I am about dental work -- can't quite be grateful for that yet.)

It has taken more than a year for some of these people to do the right thing, and they are still not all-in on doing it. (In The West Wing, Sam explains monetary police to CJ and begins with something like, "Let's set aside the fact that it's taken you so long to get to the table and celebrate that you're here at all.")

Also: I may be my own boss, but if I don't meet deadlines or if I hate what I'm working on, that's on me, and I have to decide how or if to fix it. Gratitude for sunny mornings means we've seen a lot of rain, which puts a damper (haha) on outdoor activities. I can't take good, restful sleep for granted.

Et cetera.

Two observations about this process: What you see is not the full picture. Which we all SAY we know, and we hear a lot. But sincerely -- do we really remember this?

And: I spend a lot of time with fictional people. Characters, if you will. They keep me company and offer advice. This means that I want to be careful about how -- and with whom, fictional or not -- I spend my time. 

It also means that what we do is important. Telling stories is important. Art, writing, music, important. It is our means for touching others -- people living today, and people in the future. 

And for that, I'm the most grateful of all.           

Thursday, July 7, 2022

What I'm Taking Into July

Senses. I tried to list them in an order that made sense to me and came up with this, so far: gentleness, openness, curiosity, wonder/awe, competence, diligence, appreciation, understanding, gratitude, duty, and generosity. 

I anticipate (ooo, anticipation?) continuing to think about them this month. Along with why and how I pay attention to them.

Monday's sun peers out from behind a relatively low gray cloud
shortly after rising. The sky holds criss-crossed white clouds higher.
The sun reflects from the surface of Lake Superior.

A fling with store-bought guacamole. Full of flavour and good to soothe a hankering for guacamole. No match for my sister's, made from scratch, of course, though part of my enjoyment of her guacamole is being on vacation and sharing it with her.

A similar fling with local gelato. I enjoy it a lot. But I don't need to enjoy it all the time. Which is good to know.

Moments of contentment, joy, connection, and sadness. It's been quite a month and we're still in its first week.

Random: iced-tea spoons (yes, still), grocery store pickups, two new yet persistent black-fly bites, the ability to skip stones (though not as well as some), and a different way (other than despair and teeth-gnashing) to measure progress on long-term projects (make sure it's a project you're measuring, not an ongoing responsibility like laundry, and make it small enough). 

Stay well. Please. Everyone.