"It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop."
- Vita Sackville-West
It's Fall here. Though you wouldn't know it most days, through the 80 degree weather and endless (ENDLESS) sunshine. You might scoff, you of the darker climes, but it is inhumane to live in a place where the weather never changes. Sunshine, or no sunshine. Two days ago we had our first bout of the Santa Ana winds...all night long they rattled windows and blew down unsuspecting plants. There is something unsettling about so much movement in the air, but I was grateful for it. Some weather, any weather, is a blessed event after this long, hot, summer.
(And as the winds blow outside, the winds blow within.)
Our apartment has been invaded with critters. Yesterday a cricket fell from the ether right smack into the middle of my keyboard and then hopped merrily off. The crickets are staging a coup, I'm sure of it. And the creepy drawer-dwellers, and the spiders, and even, the other day, a praying mantis, perched on our curtain rod. Last night I spent twenty minutes trapping and releasing a giant brown spider that had housed itself in one of my scarves. All that work to keep it alive and away from the house, and then as soon as I let it free on our porch it tried to scurry back in. At which point I grabbed a notebook and whapped it, and whapped it, ready to kill.
Lucky for him, I missed.
I find myself, lately, thinking and thinking. Thinking of all the things that need to be done, thinking about all the time I don't have to do them in, thinking about where I'm going and where I've been, thinking about how I'm going to get to the next place, and why I'm not there yet. Thinking about my friends and my family, wondering how they are and what they need, thinking about my mind and my heart, thinking and thinking and thinking and in the midst of the thinking feeling nostalgia for this very moment as it passes me by, unacknowledged.
In a conversation earlier this week I confessed to someone, "I think I ought to be more present, but then I worry that if I'm present, I won't know what needs to be done next and how to do it." And she said to me that I only have this moment to deal with things, anyhow, and that I would just have to trust that I will know how to handle things, when and if they come up. And that in the meantime, there is nothing to do but be in my life.
And I thought about this for days, afterwards. I turned it over. I let the winds wash it around. And I discovered that she was right.
I can only be inspired in this moment, I can only affect circumstances in this moment, I can only take action in this moment, and I can only react to my life, in this moment. What happens in the future is an unknown whether I'm preoccupied with worry about it, or not. It will come and present challenges and openings, whether I've been thinking about it, or not. But this moment is already here. This sun is already shining. That bird on the wire outside my window is already there. This morning is already upon me. This breath is breathing me, keeping me alive, and this silence is the only one I get. So, you know...use it or lose it.
I trust these winds. They are appropriately timed, all in preparation for the great hunkering down of winter. I will let them blow through and shake free the last dead leaves of summer.