where there’s smoke
Tomorrow will be my first and only day of the holiday spent alone. I was looking forward to it and now I’m not so much. I’m toying with the idea of a to-do list but I already know I will do all the unpressing things (re-potting planters, pulling out every twelfth weed, thinking about mopping the floor, etc, and not the one thing I’m supposed to be doing (advancing a tangled, unbudging plot).
Tomorrow is also my last day of holiday (not counting the weekend), and my wedding anniversary.
Now we’re home and it’s just the two of us. This afternoon I sat at my desk just looking down the valley at the rooftops and the squally rain. It was that funny time of day when you don’t know whether or not to turn the lights on. But I didn’t need lights on for what I was doing — i.e. just sitting there. In the gloaming. That’s a funny word. (I’d have used twilight but the word’s been hijacked.)
But just sitting there (well, here actually — I’ve returned to the very same spot as before, but the view is much darker now) seemed like a good start. An honest attempt at re-grounding myself. I plugged my laptop in for the first time in more than a week. Then I was abruptly reminded what a horrible, deteriorating piece of shit it is. Then, in fear of imminent motherboard failure and irreversible digital obliteration, I started backing things up (applying my usual scattergun approach and then getting distracted by the prospect of dinner, never to return, postprandially, to the task at hand).
Since last I posted, Harry Arthur Sweetman joined the world. And my grandparents, Diana and Andrew Robinson, left it.
Before we left my parents’ house in Hawkes Bay for the last time almost a week ago we had this bonfire. It seemed like a fitting way to say goodbye to lots of things. It was nice. We drank wine out of plastic tumblers and fell quiet/forgot to talk. We ate formless marshmallows off sticks and got attacked by loud flying creatures in the smoky dark.
Thinking about the bonfire just now I remembered that my book (creaking old artifact that it is) ends with a fire scene. I haven’t opened the book (other than to sign it) in more than five years. But tonight I read the last two pages. So I guess I did do something a bit momentous tonight, after all.
We are halfway down the driveway… The sky is on fire… The world warps and shimmers and fractures… We stand around, staring at the grubby air… The night is fringed with orange. It is beautiful and dreadful. This world is over.
Now I’ve just got to muster up the courage to read the very long letter my grandparents wrote me a number of years ago in an attempt to help counsel me through a, um, shaky time. I have it right here in my desk drawer but I’m just not brave enough to even lay eyes on it. Not yet, anyway. I think there’s a bit more staring out windows to be done before I’m ready.
Filed under: absolution, daytoday, family, nostalgia, writing | 2 Comments
Tags: bonfire, diary, every day, family, writing