in stasis

window ice

I’m sitting alone in my living room writing this. It’s early – so much of my writing happens in the morning when the sky is rising in hue from black to gray. A fitting metaphor for my awakening brain, partially fueled by a mug of coffee sitting next to me, but mostly from years of firing synapses from the moment my eyes first open, getting my body out of bed and onto any amount of Shit To Do.

It’s still relaxing, though. A fleece blanket draped over my legs, birds are chirping outside. This is supposed to be spring, but here in North Carolina, like everywhere else, those days are still just out of reach. February’s average temperature in areas of Montana and North Dakota was below zero. Fuck that.

Writing once seemed easily therapeutic, and I suppose it still is, but there’s a certain joy that has been sucked out of it. I often think it’s my surroundings and simply existing in a different space would be enough. New location, new energy, new ideas. Always new, new, new.

But the strange thing about this practice is how helpful routine can be. This is the reason I’m able to write at 6 or 7 a.m. in the first place. It’s happened so many times before the feeling is embedded in my muscles. Long ago in a newsroom, its own shades of gray, but always full of life. Today on my couch, surrounded by furniture of earth tones that feel muted by the dull light filling the space.

Shadows are creeping in from outside, dancing on the carpet underneath 6-foot tall blinds that sway every time my heat turns on.

Having four proper seasons sounds nice, and more often than not, feels that way, too. Like so many other things in life, the balance it provides brings joy. The sun-drenched days of summer to winter’s endless holding pattern are special in their own right. The never-ending night of warm air and voices floating from all over creates as much emotional heft as a dead-silent blackout, the only contrast to a darkened sky the white snow crunching underneath your feet.

But the winter feels particularly long this time around, ignoring calls from myself and Mother Nature alike to scram. Wasn’t it 70 degrees and sunny, like, two weeks ago? Climate change can only momentarily lift your spirits, I suppose. An unpleasant irony given our longterm, inevitable consequences.

Hibernation is almost over, and so are the gray mornings. These birds tell me as much. Energy is returning: once pent up, ready to be let go.

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