Sometimes at night, I feel like I have absolutely no idea where the day went. Did I do anything? Or did I do nothing? Time seems to melt away. The days run into each other. I think I’ve felt this way as most of the external structures in my life disappeared. Kids gone. Eight hour work day gone. Life partner gone. It’s the all me show, all the time. The days of recording the little events of my days in my journal ended when I was quite young. But today I decided that’s exactly what I was going to do, keep track of everything I did on this Saturday when I had no plans to spend even a minute with anyone but myself. So here goes.
Awake. I always feel good in my sanctuary. The head of my bed is right below a window. I listen to the birds, trying to distinguish any new visitors from the regular yard inhabitants. I spend a little more time acclimating to consciousness. My habit is to examine my brain for last night’s dreams – if I remember any, I write them down. This morning I come up empty although I’m still savoring one from the night before. That one left me waking myself by saying, “no kiss should feel this good,” to Michael’s ghostly presence, who then simply responded, “I know.” Dreams like that leave an almost visceral impression on me for days. I still don’t understand why. Then I checked the weather forecast and my email. I looked at my social media accounts. And I started my Words With Friends games, a daily exercise that helps keep my mind nimble. Then I put my feet on the floor, swallow my morning vitamins and make my bed. I didn’t do that as much when I was young. But I like the order of a made bed and know that at least, I accomplished one thing this day.
After morning hygiene and dressing, I left the house as I do every day when the weather is anything but life-threatening. I really don’t want to be housebound unless it’s absolutely necessary. As I back out of my driveway, I pause to snag a photo of the redbud tree which popped its blooms overnight. Always a happy sign of spring. Getting out daily is good for my mental health and besides, I have an addiction to drinking Diet Coke in the morning. I don’t drink coffee or tea. That icy cold caffeinated beverage is my vice. So far it hasn’t killed me. When I also get a breakfast sandwich to go along with my drink, I pull into a parking space and eat, while finishing up all those scrabble games. Today is no exception. Next stop was the grocery store/pharmacy. I shopped for bananas and yogurt to feed my granddaughter who is now eating solid foods – I want to keep my house well-stocked in case she visits. I also picked up my prescriptions, glad to knock off two errands at the same time. Using less gas makes me feel better about what I’m doing to the planet. Then I went home and fed the dog before heading to the soccer field to watch my grandson play his first game of the season.
You’d think I’d have taken a few pictures of my grandson as he loped up and down the field, but I was distracted by some really attractive cloud formations overhead. I got photos of those instead.
I left the field and headed home to begin cutting down the dried pampas and zebra grasses in my front garden. During the winter I let those dry stalks stand as shelter for whatever animals need a hiding place during the cold months. Right now they’re just a backdrop for the spring flowers which have arrived. I need to make room for their new shoots which will be coming soon.
While I cut, I wear headphones and listen to one of my most favorite albums. I haven’t heard it in a long time and am happy that the lyrics still come easily to me. I still love this record as much as I always have. As I work I’m, as ever, grateful for music which is a critical part of every day for me, even if only for a short while. I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t feel the same way. I think about the fun I’m having during my babysitting hours with my granddaughter, playing all kinds of my most loved genres to her. This past week, I chose Vivaldi’s “Spring” and Ravel’s “Bolero” for her. She seems to like it all so far.
Next, I headed off to a hazardous waste collection event being held in my community. These are not often available and I’ve been itching to get rid of a bunch of toxic chemicals that have accumulated around the house over time. I would never want to dump these items in the garbage where their poisons could leech into the environment. So I hauled lightbulbs and batteries, cleaning supplies, bug sprays and containers filled with stuff like old turpentine to the site, where I turned them over to people in hazmat suits who looked official and knowledgeable. A good purge all around.
Next up on my Saturday afternoon agenda was a stop by the celebration of art happening at a number of locations in my community. I’m really happy I live in a place which promotes art, music and the people who make them. Several venues were hosting the exhibits. Because the day was perfect for outdoor work and I had more chores to do, I chose the place where I could see the greatest number of artists and their creations at one time.
I saw all kinds of fascinating works employing an array of mediums. Although at this stage of my life I’m supposed to be downsizing my life I couldn’t resist coming away with a few irresistible souvenirs.
I was quite interested in an artist who created her displays from threads teased into unique designs. The first time I ever saw this type of art was about 30 years ago when my husband contrived a similar work. That one hangs upstairs in my house. No need for another.
I live next door to the talented artist whose fabulous, imaginative creations are displayed on paper he makes by himself. Seeing his work is a visual treat. I set aside a special time to view those.
On this unseasonably warm Saturday, I knew that I needed to be out working in my garden for a few hours. I do love my garden. Unfortunately, with rain predicted for Sunday, I knew that instead of fantasizing about buying some new perennials as I cleared my beds of last year’s debris, I had to do the more mundane lawnmowing that I detest. I’ve spent the last few years converting big chunks of grass into garden beds which I’ve planted with pollinators in mind. Sod removal is a tough job. I’m not sure I’ll ever have time to eliminate the whole thing. In the meantime if the grass is not cut frequently in the spring, getting my push mower through the thickness becomes impossible. So off I mowed.
By the time I was done mowing, it was almost 4 o’clock and time for an online concert from Pete Yorn, who was celebrating the 20th anniversary release date of his album, “Day I Forgot.” At the time this album was released I had no idea who Pete Yorn was, much less heard a single one of his tunes. I didn’t discover him until after Michael died, when I listened my way through his 30-gig Ipod. As someone who owned a music store for 27 years, he’d heard a lot more music than me, especially during the years when I was busy with our young kids and work. So I discovered Pete fairly recently. I’ve listened to his decades of music obsessively during the past six years. When the pandemic came along, he took it upon himself to perform seventeen free concerts live on Instagram. I watched every single one. As life has become more normal, those live performances mostly disappeared. So whenever one pops up, I’m right there to take advantage. Late Saturday afternoon as I did a haphazard job of edging the lawn, I had Pete as my musical companion. He played for an hour. I danced through the yard.
Suddenly I realized I was hungry, having consumed no food since breakfast. I headed indoors and put together a tuna fish sandwich on hearty multi-grained bread with sliced tomatoes and a big pile of greens. I snarfed it down and sat down to catch up on the day’s news. About eight hours had passed since I first woke up. I was pleasantly tired, if a bit stiff from my mowing. I realized that absent my determination to keep track of what I’d done for the day, I might’ve sloughed off this Saturday as one of those days that leaves me wondering if I’d done a single thing. Certainly this Saturday didn’t have any sensational moments. But I was hardly vegetating on the couch, oblivious to the world. Way more somethings than nothings happened. Sometimes I need a mental reset. Apparently I still get a lot done for a woman of a certain age. I’m smiling wryly as I write that.
I spent the evening watching a great old film from the 1940’s and then digging in to a riveting read. The next time I think I’m not doing anything but wasting time I’m going to re-read this blog and go a little easier on myself. I guess most of us are our own worst critics. Time to ease up on myself, at least a little.