This morning I stare at a waning moon and a smattering of stars. The clouds will move in this afternoon and the rest of the weekend will be wet. The late summer feels finished. Leonard tugs at the leash. There is something I can’t see in shadows of the hollybush edge.

Yesterday I took the movement students outside. I hadn’t planned it but room scheduling has been difficult. We ran off what must have been a hundred pigeons from a patch of grass along the quayside. The swan, of course, we avoided. We moved through warrior positions and balanced poles on our fingertips: “Knees bent, knees bent.” It is an odd mantra to have carved into one’s subconscious.

Be ready for anything.

The swan remained centerstage. Unflustered. Such confidence for such a relatively small creature.

There was more wind than we would have liked, but it felt good to move in the fresh air – with the fresh air – outside of the little black box where we all spend the majority of our days. With another group of students, I would have had them let the wind push them around. I would have had them risk the judgemental looks from people passing by. I would have reminded them to commit, to challenge the onlookers’ projections of insecurity, to confuse them. Forget them. Forget the swan. But these students have been affected by the Covid restrictions for most of their theatre studies. There’s little trust in each other, little trust in in their own bodies… little trust in me.

The sunshine barely grazed my skin, but felt good on my retinas. Since the morning and evening walks are in the dark now, it felt like a flicker of past already. Everything is softer now, during this transition. Winter’s sharpness will come, but right now there is a bluntness to the days.

The afternoon is an oversized, red rubber ball that smells like the dark side of childhood.

Everything in its time, returning in its time with a surprising perspective. I am in a holding pattern. Holding so very much.

feather in the grass

The first day of autumn brought the rain and the damp. At 5 a.m., a reluctant Leonard who hates getting his paws wet. Somewhere near the railroad tracks a dog screamed. I think it was a dog. Leonard and I both standing at attention in the dark, in the silence that followed, then both shaking off our helplessness, because what choice do we have but to get on with the day?

The sun rising vaguely, somewhere in the sky behind the opaque weather front. The neighbor down the road, with the lovely garden and who was wearing knickerbockers the first time I saw him, stares at us from the window of his bright entrance hall. I took another mental picture. I wonder if he knows I do that.

He doesn’t return the smile he can’t see.

Out walking once, I told him that he had a beautiful garden. He turned away from me. But the next day he told me I had a beautiful dog. Now we half-smile and nod often in the mornings. Most days this is all I need from other people. And some days it is all I have to give.

I am trying to reframe my situation: to consider all of the obligations as things waiting for me to return to, rather than the things I have fallen behind on. I know the former ascribes these “things” a kind of volition. But really the later does, too. Entities of sorts to whom I owe somehow, for having fallen short in serving them with the proper devotion.

I wonder if I am unique in anthropomorphising the world in this way? Like a child with toys: fairly, mentally kissing goodnight each one before bed. Then a kiss for God’s white cheek.

I let the small bits of the world down. I disappoint the dusty tiffany lamp with the burned-out bulb, the now-chipped coffee cup.

So much comes down to my forgetting. Forgetting as carelessness: as with yesterday’s discarded, wet socks I found on the bathroom floor this morning. Too much of my life is “I meant to…”

What do you mean to do with your life? I think I have meant to please. Sometimes I wonder if I will die while mentally apologizing to the kitchen sink for the bits of onion and garlic stuck in the metal trap.

At this point in my life, I know all of this involves a willing suspension of disbelief on my part. Though I am not sure if it constitutes escaping from real life, or desperately searching for it.

And this isn’t the first time I have wondered if all of human mental activity is a meaningless distraction. By carrot or by whip we will ourselves on.

Leonard and I came in from the rain this morning. I towelled him off and he ran for the treat cupboard. I slid off my rain paints, and E. handed me a cup of green tea.

Some days, by whip or by carrot, we will one another on.

Some days, it is good to be reminded of this simple thing.