December. I cannot believe it. Another year just about burned and what? How did that happen? What happened? Where did it go?
I've been running since September, it feels like, inside and out, and with four days of rain and a winter weather advisory today I want to stay home and in bed and let it all shake out. (I have the best bed in all the land. I recommend getting a slightly shittier bed so you don't want to be in it all of the time, but I'm already screwed. I love my bed like a person, except slightly more appropriately.) It's true that things are circling back to some kind of center -- I've been having that thought lately, incessantly, actually: "sometimes the center holds." And I don't know where this comes from except it's what I keep thinking in spite of some data to the contrary from this stupid, irritating writer brain.
I could give you a list of where I've been beyond the bits and pieces I've shared here, but that's probably really boring. I could tell you about the people I've been with and that is so much less of any kind of boring, given as I am to hanging with compelling people whenever possible. But those stories will have to hang themselves on the line one by one. I don't know where to begin, so I'm going to let them pick and choose.
I don't ever know how to catch up after so much time away. But I can say that I've been to Pittsburgh, California, Philadelphia and then back home. I've been in a place called the Mississippi Delta that I knew nothing of before some friends pointed me there, and it will take a good long while to share just what I think and feel from that experience. I've been consoled by rain on a tin roof and delighted by the sight of the Pee Wee's Big Adventure dinosaurs from the highway enough to put returning to see them on my ever-in-progress life list.
"Au revoir, Simone!"
"Au revoir, Pee Wee!"
Such is the state of affairs, constantly, around here.
(The rain on the roof part is as good as you'd expect, and if you've heard it, you know.)
I've shriveled from three hours drinking Champagne in a steaming hot tub under desert rain with some of the smartest and nicest people I've ever met. (I am not making that up. I am not.) I have chopped up and roasted a sick amount of winter squash hours before I got on a plane simply because I didn't want it to rot on my friend's counter. I have chaperoned a field trip. I have gawked at William Faulkner's story notes from where he posted them on his bedroom wall a long, long time ago, and watched a late-day southern sun slant beautifully through trees in his backyard. I have bought one single Christmas present that now I have to take back because someone else bought it too. I have won a football helmet autographed by this year's NFL rookie squad, and I have had a genuine Hog teach my best friend and me how to pour a Guinness. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family, twice. I have won a $500 Apple gift card. I have lost a camera. I have held Crow for .5 seconds. I have not been eating my vegetables. I have communicated, incessantly, and mostly well.
And that is just the past 30 days. I've been lucky, mostly. I'm guided and supported in some kind of providential way by some of the smartest and most compassionate people I have ever known. I have had friendship and love of an insane level thrown at me from various quarters. I've sung my way across four or five states in vastly different parts of the country. I have come to some kind of comfortable truce with not knowing much, with throwing my best light and dark intentions in the washer of the world and sort of hoping for a change that they'll run together.
I have not been stopped once, not on the highway or in security. I have had two plane rows entirely to myself. I have been -- remarkably, and there are a few people out there who will know just how much -- almost entirely unafraid of flying, for the first time in my life.
And in the middle of all of the problems and confusion and absolute lack of clarity that I've suffered for months on this latest go-round, I have a core of something now that I know is relatively solid in spite of the fact that my brain is porous and short-sighted enough that surely it could all come undone at any time.
It's been an interesting span of days.