I’ve finally gotten for what I’ve come.
Today is the fifth day of my six day stay in North Carolina. I come to visit my mother, as there’s little else to lure me here. I forget, when four hundred miles and twenty degrees Fahrenheit above, the pleasures come from this place. The flora and fauna that give every bit as much a sense of exploration as I could get from video games based around the process. I forget the Crepe Myrtles and the inland sea. I forget the peace that comes of making no decisions, of abandoning the need for control and the worry that comes with it. I sleep and rest and listen tot he ground. More often, I listen to the coastal winds that lose their ferocity, diluted and spread wide to make a gentle breeze that seems to cover the visible world.
Still, I was restless. I’d begun to catch up on my sleep until last night, after hours of work online, both at home and at the single coffee shop here. After walking around the tiny town a half a dozen times, having eaten, and worked: written and read, and exercised and come up with nothing else for me to do, I still could not shake the old sense of something else left looming.
I woke up earlier today than any one prior. The cats rolled and played and knocked each other up and over the bed, but that wasn’t what woke me- I was already awake.
I bathed and ate, fed the cats and made the bed. I checked for work, but none yet has come. I went to town and took another walk, but the sudden heat and growing familiarity removed the meditative sense I’d had before; I knew the streets, I knew where I was going. The walk felt like a chore.
I came home, sweaty from a January walk, and found my mother still at work. I changed in my room and watched the clouds roil over the the open field beyond the development and dead worm streets. I opened the windows and could smell the sea and the impending storm, but mostly I could hear the wind, louder than before, numbingly peaceful in its persistence.
I opened the windows and the cats, all four, sprang tot he screen. We five watched and my mind began to settle. I sat on the bed and felt the wind, the real wind, the natural kind made of thermal shifts and changes in atmospheric density, and my eyes began to close, yet still I felt the need to move, the sense that something else was left to do.
The wind increased and the world grew more muted. Then the washing machine stopped. It may seem a stupid thing to notice, but my mother’s machine sings when it’s finished its cycle. It is always a sad sound, the tones are digital and flat, and they make me think of loneliness, remind me of the song the Mars rover sings to itself once a year, alone on its planet.
The song was what I’d needed. The wind had cut me off from the rest of the world, but that song had made the solitude.
Finally alone in my head, the restlessness passed. I’ve found the central restfulness, the core of it, and outward a gentle acceptance is growing. It won’t last, tomorrow I drive for seven hours to return me home. Immediately thereafter I return to work on word and wood. But today, today I am at peace.