Thursday, March 12, 2009

Morning commute

I quit my job two years ago this month.  I suppose it's an odd anniversary to celebrate, but, like most anniversaries, it marks a life-changing event.  Actuarial tables indicate that marriage, moving, and job changes are the most stressful things in American life, and I can believe it.  I also believe that it has taken me this long, and may take a little longer, to undo some of the mind-pretzels I bent at the end of my career.  I am finally able to acknowledge how unpleasant I was at the end -- how my bitterness must have affected those around me. And I now allow myself to take pride in how hard I worked, and even believe that it made a difference.  I may not have been terribly effective at single-handedly fixing everything I touched, but I learned a tremendous amount -- and not just accounting!  That said, I'm not yet ready to return to that world.  I'm afraid to try.  I'm afraid that I will make the same mistakes, and bumble through, and lose confidence, and nearly break myself again.

All this went through my head this morning as I drove away from a sleeping family in the pre-dawn light.  I met my dearest friends downtown for breakfast, and to get there I had to join the worker-bee commute.  Few people in this world have such a lovely morning drive. I faced west, the sun behind me outlining eastern clouds in pink and orange and shades of gray that are too beautiful for a name.  Before me lay drifts of mountains fading into banks of gentle morning clouds, the tableau rendered in black and white by winter's hand.  Standing tall -- behind the leafless branches arching above, but proud before the mountains -- were skyscrapers made of dawn light, sparkling in the rising sun.  And above, a sleepy yellow moon drifted downward, relieved of duty by Apollo.

This view was once familiar to me.  I never took it for granted, but my morning commute now involves sweat pants and a lone set of stairs.  Dog walks have reopened my eyes to the dawn, but I face east, and trade the mountains for the sun.

So today, I cracked open my window and breathed deeply until my nose chilled, and then watched the dance around me of cars and people and bustling hurry-hurry between trains and buses, weaving cyclists and cell phones into the tapestry of a city whose walls rose above me and blocked out the grandeur of both mountains and sunlight.  And I missed it, the sense of purpose; the heads-down idea that if you just get there a little faster something will change and you will have made a difference.  I missed it for a little while, and then I had breakfast, and came home, and quietly, slowly, without rules or deadlines, crossed a few things off my list before picking Violet up from school.  And I decided that my fear, for now, is okay.  I don't need to join the dance yet.  And when I do, I will remember to look up to the sky and the mountains, even if it means bumbling some of the steps.

1 comment:

  1. Y -
    I checked in was rewarded with yet another post. You write with such gentle honesty, it is a pleasure to follow your blog.
    There is a time and place for most things, and it sounds like you have found what is right for you and your family right now, right there.
    Have a great weekend, Y.