I’ll take the Fresh Air, please.

The dampness had made its way inside, the stove was cold. The heavy wet wood challenged my fire building skills. The rain pitter patted on the metal plated roof all day; mostly I didn’t hear it. I sat the morning in front of my laptop. I didn’t have a hot fire until early afternoon, at which time I moved myself to the sofa where I lay down to study. Promptly, I passed out. The urge to pee roused me around 4 pm, and with a start I realized I’d missed the necessary daylight to run the trails, dusk would soon darken the woods. Shit.

Caffeine can act as an effective substitute for exercise, and so in pursuit of some stimulation I made myself a double espresso and then sat in front of my computer looking at Facebook, then looking at my email, and then looking at Facebook. The more I looked the more I loathed–the coffee and myself.

“Get outside ‘n blow the stink off ya, Tracey!” A command heralded by my father on a Saturday or Sunday if he caught me brooding away the afternoon in my bedroom.  A command I heard myself saying aloud, to my ‘self’. Deciding my pyjamas were plenty suitable, I put on boots and a hat and went to find this:

wood heap

In my pjs in the rain, I threw all my energy into that f**king woodpile. I hucked the shit out of that wood, I was cabin owning!

And the fruit of my labour is this:

wood piled

The sweetest part: despite all that hucking and stacking, this little guy survived unscathed.

slug on wood

For a long time I’ve soaked in “la Dolce far Niente.” I have had the good fortune of wallowing in that sweetness more often than most. That sweetness, however, has begun to cloy with an underlying sense of immediacy; the whole ‘time is running out’ adage has entered the game–I’m sure the catalyst for all this was my father’s death. Since then I have had the constant urge to run forward, to catch up, and it feels good. There’s been a shift from physically seeking to mentally seeking. The other day, I came across this, “Try to be one of those on whom nothing is lost,” a quote from The Art of Fiction by Henry James, and I decided that “try” was exactly what I’d do.

As one gets older, one can choose to be bitter; to be self-deprecating; to drown one’s evening in red wine and movies; or get the hell outside and blow that stink off.

 

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