東風解凍

Harukaze kōri o tokuEast wind melts the ice

So many sentences begun in my head but little motivation to finish them on paper.

Is it a lack of motivation, this foggy ambivalence? Or just an acceptance that because everything matters, then nothing in particular matters?

Before I arrived at this state of being, I had other plans. Not just to write, because writing is just something that has always been my way of interacting with my life. No, I had specific plans. I drew them on copy paper and cherished hopes long after they dimmed to nothingness. A farm, small scale but flourishing. Goats and chickens and bees, a few friendly dogs running amuck, kittens in the spring, maybe even a horse. A huge garden, a swimming hole with fish for catching. A path that leads to my writing cabin. A house big enough for everyone and a long wooden table in the yard for family, friends, and neighbors to come by for our big weekly dinner.

And a boat, a 40-foot blue water boat to sail around the world, slowly, writing and drifting and just being. Swimming and drawing.

Very specific dreams, easy to visualize. Even now as I pull them up in my mind, I feel almost nostalgic for a life that never occurred. And yet I don’t feel the attachment to that future any longer, or any future for that matter. I exist in this present and very near future and very near past. This region of time is where I am and where I must thrive. Is this simply a sign of aging, of accepting that the meter is running out of minutes? Perhaps but it is not as negative as assumed.

Over these past few years, I have come to accept the path under my feet, even if it is rocky and steep. And in doing so, I relinquished the weight of rejection and dissatisfaction.

And yet, I must fight complacency. I must rally against slothfulness and lowered expectations; I must resist Netflix.

Today, dear reader, I am starting the big project. The book. I spent the morning at my youngest’s recital. I am going to do an hour’s worth of chores then I am heading to the FamilyMart’s cozy eat-in section where I will begin the chronicle of my life in Japan. And then we’ll see if that helps to melt the ice.

静か

The kettle steaming its way to a boil.
A delivery truck shifting gears.
The hamster obsessed with beating its own record on the wheel.
There is never complete silence here. Even at four in the morning.

My own father used to rise at this time every day and paint. I see how precious that time must have been for him, out in his ramshackle studio slash laundry room slash exercise room slash tool storage. Just to focus on his work, without any demands from others.

A father of four, a mother of four. Working more hours every week than we are scheduled. Both of us responsible for maintaining a balance at home, a calmness that the children rely on. Who among my children will inherit the early morning silence?