A while ago, I bought an apple. It has been on my counter for a week now, and just now, I caught a whiff of apple flower and summer,the scent that is unmistakable as tomato stem, that alluring, that nostalgic. These days, I troll the internet, surf, window shop, an activity that brings no lasting pleasure expect a glimpse of possibility, a mulling, a chance to think, can this chair from West Elm fulfill my need for a needing, I mean, reading armchair versus the one from Restoration Hardware, on sale, and with a low shipping rate? It’s fruitless, my ongoing search for an armchair I may never purchase, an easy way to fritter time that might be spent, oh, I don’t know, writing fiction. The easy lesson: eat the apple, forgo the furniture, write.
Are things this easy?
Being on the Cape, watching birds scatter among the wintered trees, the pale blue sky, the yellow green turf where the horses glide in an out as if in a TS Eliot poem, there is a heaviness that is really at odds with the light and lightness this area is known for, a heaviness that can translate into ennui which I am trying to break by typing.
It is February, and the pair of ducks–ducks?–aflight now are really pumping their wings furiously to keep afloat, but not merely afloat, but glide. There it is, the tempo this place creates. Before, back where I used to live, I’d see runner after runner run by my window, providing extra –no, not oxygen, because that was what they were drawing in, but extra let’s call it oomph. Here, the landscape is contradiction: grey, blue, still, with a sudden furiousness that makes me wonder.
A shower, a walk, a cafe, that’s what’s next. The easy lesson.
Net result: ennui broken, friends met, a soft restorative time. Wandering Note: The Needing Chair vs. The Giving Tree.
There’s a term I’ve learned out here on the Cape called “hiding.” I first heard it used when a young barista said, “Where have you been? Have you been hiding?” True, I had not been a frequent visitor lately, making coffee at home, using the internet at home, breakfasting at home. Four months later, I find myself using the term, as an apology for not being around, for not being in the community eye. The community eye is different from the public eye, for all the apparent reasons. The community eye is the one that cares, notices, is concerned, however momentarily. It is the eye, perhaps, that draws us out of hiding, helps relinquish ties to the solitary pleasures of reading, working, television to look up,reconnect.
It is easy for a year-rounder to hide in a resort town; one wants quiet. But these are the days of quiet, the February of the mildest of winters. It is easy to lose track of time, if not thoughts.
It is easy to lose sight of my studio. I have a separate studio space, 95 square feet, a tiny house all of its own, if it were outfitted with plumbing. It is full of art made by friends, postcards, as well as the ephemera of a writing life’s accumulation. To get another cup of coffee, I must walk back home, not a far distance. So perhaps a coffee machine, water, a mug is in order. At MacDowell, picnic baskets containing lunch are left outside a writer’s studio. I can’t remember if there were hotpots.
In any case, it’s easy enough to cover the short distance, enter the studio and write. I nearly wrote “work.” After all this time, there is still in me a sense of superfluousness about the verb, “write.” Yet there is nothing superfluous about books, reading, other writers’ work. But writing is work; chosing whether or not to begin a sentence with the word “but” is work. Nice work, though.