I passed the year anniversary, January 12 and 18, of my first posts to this blog while I was in Seattle, Washington last week– without a nod to the blog’s anniversary. I have not given the blog a new face, I’ve not thoroughly rethought my direction nor did I do anything else to mark the date. But I am thinking and thinking, what next? What do I want to say in this coming year? What are the dozens of interesting things that I think about, laugh about, talk about with people, read about and do that I’ve never written about before? I am digging deep– as in thinking deeply.
I usually give a lot of thought to what I write and what gets posted here in laura writes blogland. I wanted so much to write a bit from Seattle that I tossed something out there from the airport, promising to say more later. Now, I have other things on my mind– so will make this brief. I would post a few pictures but it wasn’t that sort of trip. I didn’t take any. Not even one. It was more a looking inward, than a looking outward kind of trip. It is true that one of my most loyal readers caught me at a gathering a week and a half ago and said something along the lines of– “sometimes you say things like– ‘My mind is heavy with hard things’ and then you don’t say why or anything else really. I don’t like it. It feels– well, withholding.”
I was really touched. Thrilled even. Truly. I mean someone who is bothered by what I haven’t said or explained?– that is a loyal reader. Exactly what one wishes for as one does this kind of work. Lately, I keep wishing for a thousand or five or 25-thousand such readers. So as I promised, I will say a little about my Seattle trip. I hope my patient and devoted reader(s) remain(s) loyal and patient with me.
I went to Seattle to try to gain a new, or to regain an old (depending on how you look at it) perspective. On myself. A hopeful perspective. A happy perspective. I know this job loss has not been the worst thing. In many ways (aside from the obvious loss of income and uncertainty about the future work-wise) it has been a very, very good thing. Yet I have been caught in this feeling that my life is gray and bleak and getting more so. So I decided on this trip without family to try to get some space to gain a new perspective. And in many ways, it worked. Every day I was with people I love and care about and who love me– some of whom I’ve known well for a long, long time. I did some inside-of-me emotional work– without my family, without daily responsibilities, but not at all alone.
And lo and behold. It worked. It made a difference. I dug deep and things do actually look different. Hopeful even.
Some of the more mundane and in-the-world parts of the trip were that I stayed with a very old friend with whom there has been a rift recently– and I think we healed many things by being together, talking, clearing up misunderstandings and hanging out. I stayed at her house with her and her wonderful partner. I spent time with her two step-children– young adults both; one young and pregnant with a baby whom her whole family is excited to meet and to love soon. The other young and amazing, with a very profound disability, but with many of the gifts that seem inherent to being human– an exuberant smile, a great way of reaching for people and a great enthusiasm for things and people around her. Being with her gives you the sense that though her life is very different from the life of a person, without such a disability, that she feels that life is very good and she loves living it. And you should too.
Every morning in the car I loved seeing the gray sky and the water of Puget Sound and the great containers and container ships and cranes that offload the containers–full of all the many, many things we use that come to us from China. I took in the feel of life in a western, rather than an east coast, city. I missed my own Chicago-midwestern-industrial roots.
I dug deep and I am glad I did. But I was happy to return home. I am happy to be here in my dining room, eating oranges and writing and writing.