Archives for posts with tag: I am my own cartographer

There’s a certain “order” and “flow” to circumstances that sometimes requires a bit of waiting, of patience, of carefully and clearly resetting expectations, and occasionally, even that has to be revisited, reinvented, or repeated along the way. I sip my coffee and remind myself how effortlessly easy it truly is to wait for something – it is the impatience to reach the goal that is the hard part. lol Letting that go, and the waiting? Well, it’s just letting time pass while I do other things, right? πŸ™‚

Big things and small things, life has a lot of “wait for it” built into it. lol It’s neither a good thing, nor a bad thing – it’s just a thing to account for, to accept, to shrug off as one of life’s unavoidable, inevitable experiences. Rich or poor, we’ve all waited for something.

…Yesterday, I was waiting for a delivery of live fish to arrive on my doorstep. Today, I am waiting for a future moment in time. It’s a chill Saturday, well-suited to waiting on moments, contentedly, patiently, considerately, and even gently. The moment will arrive, and when it does, perhaps the waiting will have become “preparing”, “planning”, or some sort of desirable state of readiness, or another?

Aren’t we all waiting, right now? Waiting for the return of what we each understand as “normalcy”? Waiting for the moment we can meet up with our friends over coffee, or that moment we can host a big neighborhood barbecue (or attend one), or that moment when, through a crowd of strangers, we spot that person we know we love… so many moments are on hold right now. Vacations, journeys, endeavors, projects, group gatherings of all sorts… we’re all waiting. In the meantime, we’re all also living our lives. How’s that going for you, right now? πŸ™‚ I hope your wise choices are resulting in a measure of contentment and joy that makes it all quite bearable.

Oh, and yes, the fish did arrive. It was a peculiar afternoon of timely arrivals, actually. My Traveling Partner and I enjoyed an evening punctuated by timely arrivals, and moments of joy, and discussions of our future together – in a time beyond the pandemic. We enjoyed the evening we had in front of us, savored the depth of our conversation, the intimacy of our shared connection, and the commitment to a shared future. It was quite lovely. There is so much more to talk about and to share that pandemic-related content. lol

So… another cup of coffee, another new day. I don’t know what it holds, and I can’t see the future. Nevertheless, I’m waiting, patiently, and contentedly, for another moment, while I enjoy this one right here. πŸ™‚

Well, I must say, I’m already a bit “over” the continuous 24/7, all-channels, all-topics, doorbell-to-deck, coverage of COVID-19, pandemic or not. Seriously. There still remains so much else to also observe, discuss, and yes, enjoy. Having said that, I am staying home, working from home on work days, and doing only those things that can be done in that context. I’m fortunate to enjoy a comfortably merry, loving, and emotionally connected relationship (this partnership certainly reduces the potential loneliness of “social distancing”). I am reaching out to friends over text message (I gave up most social media some while ago, and kept only Instagram). Friends I haven’t heard from in a while are regularly surprising me with text messages, too. It’s fine. Limiting, but generally not a big deal.

I went to the grocery store, yesterday. The aisle that usually has paper products such as facial tissue, toilet paper, and paper towels looks like an old photo of soviet era shortages in iron curtain countries. The parking lot of the grocery store was nearly full, but the store was weirdly empty; people who do go out seem to be doing so alone. The streets are quiet. No “traffic”, even during “rush hour”, which no longer seems to exist (here). The trip to the store felt almost exciting – an “outing”! I got the staples I needed, stayed well back from the cashier as I paid, used hand sanitizer frequently, and did not converse with passers-by. Mostly fairly typical for me, except the additional distance, and the hand sanitizer.

I filled the gas tank of the car, while I was out, and chuckled to myself about “how long will this tank last?” knowing I am not going out much. Then I felt a bit of anxiety and a re-thinking on that; how long will gas stations be able to stay open, and resupplied? I took a breath, and exhaled with care. It’s not helpful to borrow panic from future such concerns, presently. I think about the panic-buying of toilet paper, and the impact on people who did not succumb to panic in that moment, who now struggle just to buy what they actually do need, while others sit on vast hoards of toilet paper that will likely last them into next year. I frown, to myself, aware that there is already identifiable profiteering going on, for products such as toilet paper, on eBay. We could do better, as a society, and as human beings.

…So… Do better.

It’s a complicated time. I am grateful for, and appreciative of, those that are still on the job, still interacting with the public, still providing critical services. I am also, admittedly, harshly critical of those businesses not willing to maximize the safety net for their employees, preferring to maximize profit instead. It’s also an election year; the posturing, the spin, and the insider trading are galling in times like this. I’m grateful for honest news, where it exists, and so glad that comedy continues. Art. Science. Music. These things are still real, still going on. Creators still create. The world continues to turn.

…I think about spending time in the studio, myself…

I read, this morning, that ISPs and streaming service providers are beginning to make decisions to limit bandwidth. I cynically wonder how they will turn that to their profit when the pandemic wanes? I hit my vape. I sip my coffee. I type some words and plan the day ahead. Saturday on a (for me) long weekend. The vernal equinox, something I generally celebrate “out loud”, passed by sort of without notice this year. Fairly certain I never mentioned it, myself. I commit to enjoying the time I am sharing with my Traveling Partner, and doing what I can to make that time merry, and even productive. Bills get paid, and great care given to the budget; there are still a lot of unknowns, for all of us. It is what it is.

Today, my project is both a bit of work, and a bit of entertainment – a lot of bother; I’ll be setting the aquascaping of my aquarium right, after living with the chaotic, rather haphazard and sloppy outcome of moving the tank here, almost 3 years ago.

The day the tank arrived at the new place. This shot was taken before the water even had time to completely clear up.

The tl;dr is that the moving team that moved the tank was at the end of their work day when they finally arrived at my place with my tank. They had one more job yet to go to, and were feeling rushed… so… they rushed the work. The large river rocks that decorate my tank were not placed with care, nor were the paperweights that function as the ornaments. The plants were sort of just dropped in, without being correctly anchored at all, and where they were anchored, they were not where I wanted them. (I’d have to re-do all of it, myself, and I knew it at the time.) I settled for “good enough, now just go, please” and went on with things, expecting to have plenty of time for restoring order to that bit of chaos… once I finished getting moved in and settled.

Life happens, and change happens, and within a couple weeks of moving in, my Traveling Partner relocated for work. Then I began an almost weekly “commute” back and forth to see him each weekend (almost), which meant my only leisure time for big projects was on weekends that I did not travel (and often those were selected based on exhaustion, or illness), and in the evenings (when I could generally count on being “too tired”). The chaos got worse, and after a prolonged power outage, most of the fish died. The tank sat quietly, being little more than an aquatic garden of sorts. Over time, after the last fish finally died, I began to ignore it, and after awhile, even became rather embarrassed by it.

Yeah, it got this bad. Inadequate filtration. Lack of routine maintenance. Heater failed.

After my Traveling Partner moved back in with me last year, I started considering taking it down to reclaim the space for something else… Then, I spotted something unexpected. One solitary surviving resident.

Shy clown pleco spotted hiding behind a glass paperweight. One of my original fish, purchased in 2013.

Well, that certainly changed things for me. I got excited about my “universe in a box” all over again (and a bit peeved at myself for being such a poor care-provider). I cleaned the tank. I upgraded the filter, the heater, and the lighting. I began restocking. Today it is a vibrant little planted freshwater community, populated by shrimp, tetras, snails, a betta, and of course, my wee clown pleco, now almost 7 years old.

This morning, after so much work (over the past couple weeks), with much still left to do. πŸ™‚

It still needs some pruning, some tidying up, and I’ve certainly got the time at home this weekend to tackle the aquascaping more seriously. So. With some trepidation, I think I shall. Part of the plan, and the timing, and the “order of operations” is also to do with moving the tank to the other side of the fireplace to make better use of the space. (And, finally, there won’t be two light switches in every photo of the tank!) The needs are different for two people living here, than for one. πŸ™‚ So much work. So much fun. So much love. Plenty to challenge me, and stave off any potential for boredom.

My perspective on my circumstances changes when I understand how other lives may be affected by my choices. (Pictured: a much happier, still shy, clown pleco.)

This is my life in the time of pandemic. It’s not perfect. There are challenges. There are opportunities. There is “room to grow”. There is this strange moment in my lifetime that holds so much potential to become “that time when we all reconnected”, and I hope to take advantage of it. What about you? What will you do with your time at home? How will you deepen your relationships? Where are your opportunities to grow as a person? Will you make use of the time well and wisely… or… not?

It is another time to begin again. πŸ™‚ (However bad things may become, I know I can begin again.)

I sat for a long while, this morning, quietly watching the fish swim in the aquarium. Shrimp, small fish, a couple of snails, and lush green plants, shifting in the gentle current created by the filter pump, presenting a tiny living world to my delighted eyes. It was a pleasantly timeless moment of contentment, joy, and solitude. Still and quiet. Calm. Satisfying. Emotionally nourishing. πŸ™‚

They don’t vote, and aren’t worried about the latest virus.

…The world is a fairly scary mess right now. Corruption. Pandemic. Greed. Deceit. It is at times quite horrifying. Other times, it seems awkwardly tedious with the weight of lessons we never seem to learn, as a global society. We’re too connected to view world culture any other way. Our survival as a species is so obviously linked with each other in this age of connectivity. It is, too often, very hard to watch. So… I take a moment for me, and watch the fish swim. πŸ™‚

Better than television. Reliably more truthful.

More often than not, there is nothing in the news that is truly urgent or new. Most of what we see, read, and hear, is in some way a repeat of something we’ve seen, read, or heard before. I remind myself, regularly, to let all of that go, in favor of walking in the sunshine, enjoying the garden on the deck, or watching the fish swim. These are by far better quality moments of existence, and life is already so very finite… better to enjoy more of these gentle pleasant moments that to become mired in what is not so very news-worthy after all. πŸ™‚

I smile contentedly into the empty cup that was once my morning coffee. Seems like a good time to begin again.

Time is finite and precious. I am sipping my coffee and feeling fortunate. The world seems fairly disordered lately, but my own life, day-to-day, moment-to-moment, is generally peaceful, orderly, and full of love. It’s nice. I am making a point to live these moments, to embrace and enjoy them, and to savor this experience. I am making time for the things that matter most to me. I am enjoying the good company of my Traveling Partners, and nearby friends. I am reaching out, one by one, to far away friends, making time for valued old friendships, the sort of deep, lasting friendship that endure long silences… they are overdue for my attention. πŸ™‚

…Less time writing…

Last weekend, I sent time on my aquarium. The results simultaneously delight me, and fill me with further resolve. It is a tiny world of its own, and there is nearly always something more I can do to improve the lives of its citizens (right now, just a colony of blue velvet shrimp, an oto, and a clown pleco). This weekend, I’ll do another filter change, test the water quality, and add a school of neon tetras. It doesn’t end there. A beautiful planted tank requires some attention and care – as any garden would. I enjoy it. It is a calm tiny world, and a lovely focal point for meditation.

A weekend well-spent, and a lovely perspective on life.

I sip my coffee, preparing for the day ahead. Each time I think about my aquarium, I smile. It represents more than a project completed. Metaphors layer upon metaphors, when I sit quietly, gazing into the small, calm, watery world.

I finish my coffee, still smiling, and begin again.

I am drinking my coffee this morning with that certain feeling of satisfaction and relief that comes from completing a task I wasn’t looking forward to, or may even feel a deeply anchored reluctance towards taking on the task at all. There are quite a few things that fit this category, some pretty ordinary things: vacuuming, filing my taxes, tackling a sink full of dirty dishes, raking or sweeping leaves, weeding the garden… sometimes it’s just pure resistance to the discomforts of manual labor, sometimes it is some sort of strange mental “block” that holds me back. So human. Tasks toward which I feel anyΒ  sort of resistance or reluctance can prevent me taking on the rest of a to-do list of needful things; hard to get past that one thing I just don’t “feel like” doing. Very human, indeed.

This morning, I’m smiling because I’ve finished off one such task, and entirely overlooked even feeling the weight of any reluctance, at all, during that process. Almost… pleasant. Definitely emotionally neutral, if nothing else. No baggage. I grin to myself, and have another swallow of almost-cold coffee, and considering planning a spring camping trip for myself. I wonder, contentedly, if my Traveling Partner will want to go? I keep my planning sufficiently open to permit it, without any concern or sorrow that he likely won’t go; our outdoor preferences are enough different that we truly don’t enjoy all the same things, done the same way. That doesn’t bother me at all. We need some time apart every bit as much as we enjoy (and need) time together. πŸ™‚ The bigger question is actually… April… or May? LOL

I let my mind wander to my walk, yesterday, instead of indulging my desire to plan an outing…

It was a lovely morning to walk along the riverbank.

Camping, hiking, walking… it’s about that moment of solitude and contentment, a moment of stillness, in the trees, on the seashore, along the riverbank… time spent walking, breathing, and contemplating. Time spent awake, aware, and present in the moment. It is about sufficiency, and perspective.

I woke to rain, today, and I am feeling restless, and eager to put a few more miles on my boots before the weekend ends. I had planned to work in the garden, but it was too early for it when I woke, and too rainy. Later, maybe. The rain dampens my plan to walk along the riverbank, again, too. I’ll still get a walk in… but when? Where?

I think about distant mountains, and waves lapping the shore. I think about Spring approaching.

I think over my short list of things I committed to doing this weekend and take a few minutes to sort it out in my head. It’s not that much to do, really, and mostly very routine sorts of things setting up the new work week that begins tomorrow, plus a creative task that gives me a measure of real joy, and a task I’d like to get done to make the house more comfortable. Putting my walking near the top of my list this morning makes sense; my Traveling Partner is still sleeping, and noisy housekeeping would be unkind.

I smile contentedly. I’ve got a good plan for a pleasant day, and it’s enough. It’s time to finish this coffee and begin again. πŸ™‚