I woke twelve hours earlier to dark blue-moonlight clouds forming on the horizon. As the sky lightened, mist rose to make me think of an imaginary Kashmir, from a long-ago fairy-tale, some mountain country covered in soft gauzy views. Storm clouds rolled in soon after, together with light rain.
All day today I have been stealing glimpses and long looks at the sky. It is October 20, the sixth day of the nine-day festival marking the gathering of strength by a goddess arming herself to battle a tremendous foe. It is autumn in Cape Cod.
Afternoon,the trees are gold, red, yellow, green, and when the sun comes out, as it does at least three times, the day takes on an impossible sheen. It is as if everything is suffused with a golden light, that is not just the famous north light of this area, but the light of autumn.
Near six in the evening, the sky suffuses with a mix of pale pink and blue. The white horse glimmers like a mirage, a medieval sight.
That is the north, but in the south, the sky blazes strong orange and dark purple.
The near-half moon shines silver in the sky.
In my imagination, I am the ahtangi who practices at dawn, no matter what, for a full two hours, after coffee, after bathing, and feels refreshed for the rest of the day. In my imagination, I am the writer who after yoga, hits the shower, changes in comfortable, well-fitting clothes, eats breakfast, and sits at the laptop for a good four-hour stretch of work. I am not a perfectionist in my ambition. I am satisfied if in my imagination I sit in front of the laptop without writing x amount of words, y amount of pages. Even one paragraph would suffice. Three pages would be lovely, as long as it connects to yesterday’s work and tomorrow’s. Then, I make my own sandwich, take a walk, and return like a happy country mistress to read and write correspondence. In my imagination, that would mean that social media including email is regulated, and I use the hours between two and six for the discourse. In my imagination, could I live in the city and do the same? The walk would extend longer, of course, the correspondence time grow shorter, or after dinner, in lieu of nighttime television.
But reality has stepped in already, and I see my own disappointment that what I have written thus far is only a paragraph. Reality allows me ease with my habit of dinner at six, TV from seven to nine, then bed to read until ten, or eating in front of the TV, and snacking past seven, and watching for three hours at a time. Reality knows I do not roll out my yoga mat for daily practice, even weekly practice; reality knows I spend hours I used to devote to television to social media and commercial online window shopping, compulsively looking for things I have no intention of buying. I spend my money easily enough, on food, on books, sometimes music, and if the opportunity arises, yoga.
My blog is already to long. How I long to write the truth and not be shattered by it, to lose interest in myself the way a natural narcissist does not, and instead write sparkling fiction that causes general acclaim and dinner invitations. I wish in my imagination to turn back the clock so I can do it all again, yet with more humility, more wisdom. I am lucky. I found my job when I did, though I may not profit from it. I found my yoga. I found my place in my family, content being an aunt. Europe and the world still await. If I travel in the next thirty years, that is fine. Ten more books, ten more major trips. I still want to live abroad. I still want to find sustaining work and write. I want to pay my bills, vote, and be in good health, live among my friends and family, family and friends, and integrate both sides. My life under construction, and in construction.
It is a year since I moved to the Cape from Colorado. As I took a walk this morning, I thought about the year ahead, and the year after that. I am in the process of applying for grants and jobs. I am on the threshold of a new book, and if I can afford it, I could stay here for two more years. That is the guideline of the residency I am on. I spent much of my first sixth months mourning my life near the mountains, but now I am more accustomed to a solitude that comes with losing my yoga sangha. There are sanghas here, and I will explore there. Mysore practice is every day practice (with exceptions), side by side fellowship, a place that does not require conversation, because conversation is better after practice. Everything is better after practice, unless of course practice leaves you too tired to do anything else. Then the practice wasn’t really practice, I think.
So, without Mysore practice, I–well, what do I do? I have DVD’s, I have a mat, so why is it so difficult to practice on my own? Is it because the practice was as much about spirituality and asana and community? That community made it better, and indeed, made it possible?
But I did not mean to write about ashtanga. I meant to write about home, about the need to plan a garden, about the need to not be on the move year after year, or planning a year in advance. October is grant month. November is job application month. Winter will bring work, but one is always working when one is working on a book. It is what sustains a person who writes, the secret world of imagination, where one can compose in one’s head, or heart, or have a reason to spend hours at the keyboard. Typing. Not typing.
Another year here beyond this year would not be bad. It would allow for continuance. A year to write, and return to teaching in another place the following year is not so bad either. Each comes with its own set of problems. A friend calls these years without a job “gap years.” A gap year is a time to explore the place one is in, and for me, write my heart, as if I am on a fellowship. A horse snorts in the distance. Why is it that horses are so wise? Why is it the world is so wise?
Autumn beckons. There is promise in the air. Reflection and color, and all of it.
- Tasting Mysore in London. (elephantjournal.com)
The starlings are puffed up and resting in the trees. It is a bleak sky day, but the fall colors are brilliant, touched with rain. Amazingly, the pot of tree fuchsia on the balcony is still in bloom. If I go out to take a picture, I will scare the birds away, so here is an interior shot.
I have been working as if it is October. Fall days, full of deadlines, news. The debate last night which I hovered between watching, then switching to Henning Mankell’s “Wallender” when my blood pressure seemed to shoot up. Let us not elect a bully this year.
All I have to offer today, day of drizzle, rain, and splendid color, are more photos, magically and digitally enhanced.