Haunted

The pine needles have fallen this week, a thick carpet, suddenly silent footsteps when I walk Baxter, mounds of them on the highway, scuttling across in the wind. October always feels unreal, wavering, storms putting puddles of the sky on the road, the sun making menacing shadows out of everyday trees. Red sunrises, red sunsets. No wonder they believed once that the world is just that much thinner at this change of the seasons, when fall goes from gorgeous and warm to a little wild.

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I’ve had nightmares of ghosts, and of unreal things myself. My speaker turned on by itself in the middle of the night one night; was I sleep talking, turning it on? I heard tapping on the door when I was getting ready one morning, but nothing was there. Dreamed of a spirit who looped me into more and more dreams, impossible to struggle out of. It wouldn’t let me turn on the lights. Stole my voice. Pressed me down so I couldn’t move. “The one thing you blamed me for in childhood that I never did,” it told me. “Any guesses?”

I don’t believe in ghosts, in spirits, but I feel haunted.

I feel a little bit like I’m shrinking. I lie in bed in the early morning or right before sleep and I feel like the world is thin, the line between the me lying in bed at Adams Street, in college, in DC, in Dennis, that border is so thin I could break through. I could close my eyes and wish with all my might and everything will shift, backwards. A time before. The liminal places that aren’t really liminal but feel that way anyway. The world feels like a backdrop, unreal, painted.

 

I’m curling my own world in around myself, a veil, a blanket. Fleece in front of my eyes. Could live in the in-between moments forever.

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There’s magic in the air

DSC01150 I forgot about July 4th, which was lovely and chilly and full of midges and sand and the beach at night with the fireworks exploding overhead, silhouettes of people all around. The Cape has really been putting on a show lately, trying to get me to love it again, and I have to say I don’t know of many places more beautiful, when the light is just right.

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From Paine’s Creek you can see Provincetown and Plymouth, the  bay curling in on itself like a contented cat. The best fireworks show was the amateur one put on by one of the houses fronting the beach. Wildly unsafe I’m sure but worth it for the joy in Case’s eyes, and the momentary feeling of belonging.

all possibilities

I have a love hate relationship with the cape: hate how much of it is close minded, hate how isolating it is, hate the high prices of living. Love the other half, the open minded people, the salt of the earth, the tradition, the water, the off season when you smile at other people at the grocery store, your neighbors. New englanders, typically, aren’t exactly outgoing and super friendly, but there’s a shared sense of survival in, say, October and November: we made it through again.

 

But the other night, I tipped pretty firmly into the love camp. It’s hot, June’s mild sweetness finally giving way to air so thick you can drink it and temperatures so hot the beach is even quiet. Just before twilight, I sat on a beach with friends, a local beach, not one of the ones everyone knows about. We listened to the sounds of a summer concert from the church alongside, traditional harpsichord that sounded a little ghostly with the water backbeat. On the way home, I stopped at Fort Hill where there were waves of purple, sage and blue all around: ocean, flowers, meadow. Fireflies as big as my fist darted and were chased by little birds, swallows and finches and sparrows. The air was still too thick to breath and no-see-ums bit at my arms but I sat there for a bit, watching the ocean crest over the hill. I drove back against traffic and listened to Nick Drake murmur and for just one brief moment I felt all the possibility in the air.

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When I moved in here, I chatted with my landlords out in the space between our yards. It was August and route 6 was a wall of traffic from one end to the other. “It kind of sounds like waves, like surf,” she said. “if you pretend.”

June has been so gentle. The weather cool every morning, a sweatshirt as I walk the dog, marveling at just how clean the air is. The days long, golden, light. It can’t last.

The sunshine moves like water on my pillow, on the window.

Last night it stormed. Not a true thunderstorm, just a distant rumble and some soft rain and then the eerie yellow sunset through the clouds which is one of my favorite lights in the world (favorite: black thunderclouds being lit by a cloudless setting sun, you know the one, if I could draw a picture you’d understand). My cottage turned gold, windows glowing with it, and I read a book that took me from even to destroyed in the space of 50 pages.

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Today at work I told a coworker about it. “It’s not the same,” I said, “but the crisis mode they’re living in, the exhaustion and sorrow and humor and the way you feel like you’re just holding on, making it up as you go, life and death and wanting to go to sleep all the time,” and he nodded because he knows, too, for different reasons.

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Tonight I told myself no distractions, just the quiet of my room, the windows open, books and music and early bed. The more I distract myself the less I know myself, and I need to make room. June’s come in gentle and cool this year, every day under 80 a glittering gift. I wake up and the sun is pouring through my window, the constant wind of the coast making water like patterns on my walls, bed, every surface. At night the sun comes down to eye level across the cottage, a micro magic hour.

 

My answer, then. I’ll remember this time by the light it cast.

only the echoes of my mind.

I remind myself every day that it’s in this moment that I can choose who I want to be. It’s sometimes useful and sometimes makes me roll my eyes because nothing is really that profound in my life.

 

I’m reading Alibis by Andre Aciman, and in an essay about time and memory and Proust find this:

 

With temporizers, experience is meaningless–it is not even experience–unless it comes as the memory of experience, or, which amounts to the same, as the memory of unrealized experience….It is only when it’s too late that one comes to understand how close one came to bliss…or how needless our sorrows were when they drove us to despair.

 

I watch my life from two steps back: This is who I am, and this is what I’ll look like to myself in a years time, five years time, ten. The shiny ivy of DC is what I thought I’d remember about my apartment in SW, not the walk from it to L’enfant, the statues in the parking lot, the rats along side the church, thinking about writing while Rufus Wainwright sung Hallelujah in my ears and a man halfheartedly blew dead leaves into piles on the sidewalk.

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Last summer is the moment of floating in the pond I only found at the very end of the season, early morning, 5:30 or 6 am when it was still and already hot and Baxter paced the shore alongside my lazy strokes. I remember the good clean feeling of being exhausted from the water, getting dressed for work, washing sand and leaves off my skin. And why that instead of the countless pricks and sorrows of last summer? Because my life is a story I was telling myself, and that moment was the one that I liked best.

I’ve been drifting a little, struggling to find a balance between responsibility and work and life and commutes and all the other things that make up my mundane self at the moment. I’m feeding on the energy of the season beginning, though, all the people flooding over the bridges, into the stores, on the roads, on the trails, in the water. Windows open to the sweetness of June, unwilling to put the A/C up just yet.

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In this moment I can choose who I am, and maybe watch my life from a step closer.

I had strange, disjointed dreams and woke up disquieted. I will be honest: just surviving this week feels like a goddamn triumph. And there’s this voice in my head reminding me of how much harder other people have it, and I know that, I DO, but I’ve been reliving the worst week of my life in real time in some dark recess of my brain and I can’t make it stop. Today, a year ago, this is what was happening. Today, a year ago, I …

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So, yes, getting through the day, doing good work, keeping up with the very basics to be functioning (sleep, eat, shower, repeat) feels like an uphill climb. It’ll pass. But it’s been a year, and anniversaries matter whether you will or no, and so.

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Tides.

A day in the life.

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I kept hearing that these Philips lights are life changing. I wouldn't go that far, but it's true that I wake up without a blaring alarm every damn morning now. On the other hand, the slowly brightening light wakes the dog up at 5:30. Still, the sunlight effect is lovely!

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Send the dog outside into the chilly morning. He is not pleased.

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We make up with it with playtime. Toys only last a day in his world.

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I don't have any caffeine in the house, so I'm stuck with seltzer. Luckily, Polar Seltzer is mana from the gods. There was an article on Boston.com last year about how obsessive Polar fans are; I feel that.

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Shower time! I have fully embraced the slight kitchy-ness of my cabin, down to the fake wood panelling on the walls, so this new shower curtain makes me smile.

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Face stuff. I am too lazy for makeup but day cream makes me feel a little brighter.

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March sunlight is already taking my breath away; so dramatic and gorgeous.

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I've been struggling a bit, still, with the aftermath of my father's death and with the pure crisis mode I lived in for years before he died; I was a horrible friend in that time. Today's Carolyn Hax made me feel guilty and better all at once. I haven't been brave enough to try to reach out to those amazing friends, yet. But I will get better, and I will.

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Baxter. I JUST vacuumed.

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Oh man, weather. I'm getting whiplash.

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Journal, to-do list, and a quick mental pep talk.

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I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't buy any new games until I finished the ones I own, and apparently that stretches to freemium games on the iPad. I'm about half done with Final Fantasy Record Keeper.

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Oh, look at how bright it's getting. Time to go to work.

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I commute an hour each way daily, so audio books, podcasts and plays are my saviors. I was excited to find a Poirot I hadn't heard before, even if it wasn't read by my One True Poirot (David Suchet). Hugh Fraser's pretty good, though, although it's a bit weird to hear Hastings do Poirot.

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I rarely find time to leave for lunch anymore, so I stop by whole foods for breakfast and lunch. Bit pricey, but tastes good. Plus, they're my local source for my favorite caffeine drink, hi-ball.

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And here we are, at work.

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Quiet before I unlock the doors for the day.

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It's 1pm before I get a chance to make a to-do list. This day is kicking my ass.

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Breakfast, working on Animal Crossing for that same goal (I've decided that when my house is completely expanded and paid off, I'll call it finished). I try not to do work on lunch but I can't help replying to an email or two.

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By the time I look up next, it's nearly closing. I've got my inbox down to 19 emails though, which feels like a success.

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Time to lock the doors and gtfo.

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Got some boxes today! The huge one is a wedge pillow, which I bought because I don't have room for a comfy chair in the house.

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The other box has shoes! And a couple of books. I've been using variations of these shoes for over a year now and adore them.

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Chat with my brother; my little nephew is sick with a terrible bug and has thrown up for only the second time in his life. So traumatic for a little guy.

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Unbox the final bit of stuff, new clothes! I'm super excited to wear the owl skirt this spring. Warmer weather is so close.

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More playtime. This toy did not last any longer than his others, despite my futile hopes.

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Smug.

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I'm disturbed to see my rug staring back up at me. Honestly, dog.

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I ask him to explain the eye and he explains by cuddling.

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The house is half neat, half disorganized. I need to get things in order.

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Better. ish.

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More mana from the heavens.

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Browse the web, play some Mass Effect 2. Shep just looks skeptical and or snarky about 99% of the time and I adore her.

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Realize how late it's getting. To keep me honest in my goals, my friend and I created a joint blog about the games we're playing and the progress we're making on our backlog. I make 15 minute sketches about my week in games and then blather lots; Freddie Prinze Jr.'s stream on Twitch keeps me company. Seriously, can't believe that guy streams, but I love it. Especially when he tells stories in the Iron Bull voice.

And thence to sleep! Thanks for reading!

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