Summer School

A lot of people have asked me lately what exactly I learned during my summer. Some intimate to me that I lived a time they’d long for, a time without employment and with a peaceful environment – a time to reflect, to be on one’s own.

But we all know the grass is always greener.

Though it was officially ‘time off’, the goal was to buckle down on my projected place in this world. However, during time designated for a different kind of discipline, I daydreamed instead — about JOBS. Finding a job that I could love. I envied those I met whose lives were seemingly ‘set’. I sat with my head in my hands, trying to crack the code. From that place of yearning, came my learning.

A couple things I didn’t so much as learn as learn to be completely true and unchangeable for me —

Eating a good meal really clenches a day for me.

Wrapping one’s worth up in a job is dangerous.

There is safety; and then there is a safety net – and they’re not the same thing.

and

“The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.”

I pay attention to everything. I can tell you the color of the earrings the woman that just passed me was wearing. I can tell you which shop she turned into half a block down. I can tell you a bird sang out when her foot hit the dark part of the pavement and then I’ll tell you how it all made me feel.

Paying attention to other people and things has never been a problem. Paying attention to myself was my weakness. My needs, even from minute-to-minute, I’ve ignored — much less my overall desires. As I dance in the delight of the things around me, the sounds of my own requirements are muted.

About a week before I left Kentucky, my dad asked me how the work-free experiment went. He hoped I’d had the time I’d longed for. He said that I shoulda had a blade of blue grass in between my teeth each night, looking up at the stars…

I danced around my response. I made a joke. I felt like I would disappoint him with the truth. Because I didn’t look up very often, maybe just once a month. I huddled inside the air conditioning, and lay awake in the bed at night, wondering what the hell would become of me. So I didn’t secure my next steps and I didn’t streamline what I was looking for. I was too busy being free.

I was literally foaming at the mouth in freedom. But what I’d gained in freedom; I lost in fear.

ANYPLACE can be a prison — PARIS(!) can be a prison — if you are unable to take heed of what you need.

———

* Additional enlightenments:

A BLT should be made with both fried green tomatoes and fresh red ones.

Beyoncé is a weird dancer.    Call me crazy.

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