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The Birthday Dance - Friday, Dec. 20, 2019
Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019 @ 12:34 am
There is a break in the weather, so I pack a bag and drive out of the mountains and into the city. I leave town early, and I travel in darkness among intermittent semi-trucks and piles of greying snow. The sun rises, and the forest gives way to desert sage.
I hadn't told anyone that I was coming. I walk into the office, and it feels so great to be here. An entire office, three floors of smiling faces and positive energy. I spend most of the day making my rounds, connecting with all of the people that I work with. I go all the way to the top to say hi to the president. Hah! And then I buckle down into my work and stay late, knowing that my socializing has sunk me into a hole from which I will spend the rest of the week extracting myself.
In the hotel, I stay up late. Excited and restless. Happy to be in my own space. I hang up my clothes on the wooden hangers, and the simplicity of two outfits pleases me. The hot tub closed for the season, I stand in the shower for a long time, just being. Hot water, bleachy smelling shower curtain, willing my body to settle down after so much interaction.
The next day we have a workshop, and the theme is to discuss 'care'. I make a list of the things that I care about, and the ways that I show care. I look at my neighbours worksheet, and she lists: husband, son, and mother in a masterful script. My sheet is a mess of untamed thoughts, arrows, and writing that goes up the side of the page. How simple her life seems, how cut and dry.
I drive home in a daze, barely thinking about the roads, so used to the curves and hills that it's only a vague awareness of driving underneath my racing thoughts and mental digesting of the last two days. I stop for coffee and sit inside for a few minutes to do nothing but watch the locals come and go. How did I end up here, sitting alone in a Tim Hortons in Salmon Arm in January?
I drive the remainder of the way home with the stereo irresponsibly loud. Orion appears in the navy sky, emerging from behind a mountain range. I crack a window to smell the forest.
I arrive home but sit in the car in the driveway visualizing my entrance into the house. How will he be? How will I be? The last time I came home from being away, the bathroom door was broken into pieces. Can I have compassion for someone who is suffering so deeply? Is it my role to be there for him, in this time of despair? It's easy to think about walking away from this, when I know that I have value and that I am lovable and that someone else will appreciate me. But is leaving is an act of selfishness, of filling my own Ego? Of looking for happiness in a different place, when I know that happiness is always available and exists continuously within me?
I have thirty minutes in the house before heading off for my skate ski lesson. Deep breath. Open the door.
"Shut the door! You're letting cold air in."
Later, out skiing. The teacher has us leave our poles behind and free skate along the rolling terrain. I fall back from the pack and admire the group of women and their rhythmic movements, gliding across the snow. The half moon illuminating the way.
There is so much that is right in my life. I feel charmed in many ways, with the gifts that I receive from the world. The opportunities that come my way. The places in which I live, in all their magical glory. The people that I meet, their generosity of spirit.
I care deeply about all of these things. In my own messy way, I care. And with reckless abandon, I open myself to you so that you can care about me.