The last time

The last time I wrote, it was not yet wintertime. There was the yawn of dark days before me, the somnolescent months rolling into the future. I saw in the days ahead that same routine: 30 minutes in front of the light box, Vitamin  D supplements before breakfast, salmon at least 4 times a week.  

Now it is summer. I think someone must have warned me when I was young, about how quickly we consume time as adults: one meeting and another, the back and forthness of traveling between home and workplace, and how when we talk to each other about making a better life we are eating up its very minutes. Would it have made a difference if I'd known?

Today I am observing a pine. In writing class, we are sent outdoors to describe what we see. Playing hide and seek, only a child, I study the texture of the tree that shelters me. Now I understand the luxury of this, to sit outside of a garden-strewn AirBnb in Petaluma (where I have been working remotely for the morning), everything around me surviving and growing, oblivious. 

C has been stationed out here for A-School for just under a month now and this is my first trip out to see what it's like. I find a crisply kempt campus nestled into the golden, cow-pocked landscape of California's grasslands. Students in matching blue uniforms trace the sidewalks with their measured pace, and the base is so safe that I can leave my laptop and wallet on the coffee shop table while I use the restroom. His life and mine, are at odds and yet we find reconnection over the course of the week — we play with my nieces, stay and eat meals with my brother and his wife, go hiking and stay on POST property with my mom, and then find moments to just hold hands and breathe. 

I've finally started dancing again. Just a lesson here and there, where I attempt to move my body in ways that are familiar yet forgotten. When I go to the studio I feel that I am gazing in from the edge. I watch my sister in law hold her young daughter, and I think — my own mother once held me like that. It is a sensation I once knew, that I may never recapture; so too is the intensity and rigor of competitive training. 

Sitting here in the bright sunshine, I try to peer into the future. But all I see is the husky black carapice of a beetle scrambling through the dirt, the swooping dive of a phoebe snatching insects from their flight, a blue and cloudless sky. Here with the soft breeze stirring the tips of the grass and the pine and my hair, with a cricket sawing away nearby, there is only the present. You and I are here now, together, and that is truly a perfection of time. 

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