The candle that burns on my desk is turning black the longer it sits. The fire gets higher. The wick gets littler. The scent radiates through my corner room, and when off for a quick coffee jaunt, I could smell it from my building’s front door. I follow it like a trail to find my place back to where I began many hours before.
It is pitch black in New York City before 7 in the morning. Years ago, a cab or a truck would have woken me up, but I depend heavily on the alarm that chooses a select 30 minutes during a particular sleep cycle to gently wake me. Oddly enough, I miss the jolt of loud noises and the reminder of “Who the hell do you think you are still sleeping when the city is awake?” feeling I would so often get. I love the country. But only as a visitor, so my daily confrontation with the dark is a strange one.
The fight with the city is possibly why I kept hustling the way I did for so long. I made little promises to myself, except to be a parent, to be loving, and to keep hustling. All of the above are layered and heavy tasks that in the minutes of a day produce little benefits. But these days, I am seeing the rewards of years prior. And just like back then, there are efforts from these days that feel a bit unmeasured in their existence, too. But I’d like to attempt to do away with that if I could. If I’m allowed to.
See in PP time (pre-pandemic times), I didn’t need to feel the instantaneous benefits of what I did or do. But now, every little thing becomes a sparkling new rhinestone stuck into unknown time on an unending belt. Add one. Then another. Yes. Here we go!
So I’ve found my rhinestones, if you will. There aren’t many, but the one I most look forward to is probably the more intimate one; waking early to write for 30 minutes with a pitch black sky, a moon lamp and me. I show up only by the grace of an alarm that has momentarily replaced my loud and ill-mannered city.
Like many, I yearn for the day that particular NYC noise comes back to me. The sun too. But this tiny slow practice, for the rhinestones, and yes for my second book, is needed these days. More than I could equitably measure.
Here’s to finding the pockets of light and time this year.