I’m off to Ireland this Fall, which is wonderful, and it looks like there may be a moment of respite, with a house to stay in for a little while, not far from water. If all goes well, it may be possible to get some work done on a book, some drawings, and perhaps even an hour of reflection here and there. I’ve learned not to cling too tightly to the thoughtful, productive time that’s just around the corner, though. I’ve seen it coming, just a few weeks or months away, for several years now.
Like much of my life these days, though, it’s largely beyond my control. My wife’s sabbatical is an opportunity to go to her home country for a while, and I’ll see a lot of people I care a lot about. My parents will come over as well, later in the Fall, for a week or two, and over the course of those several months, a lot of fun will be had with them and the rest of our Irish family and friends. That much is certain. As far as time to work and think and make, experience tells me I’ll just have to see.
If work time, astonishingly, comes, as it well might, I’m not sure I’ll know where to start. Lately, even with a free day now and then, I often no longer really know what to do, because large projects have largely been abandoned. With a free afternoon or two every few weeks, it’s just not realistic to aim real high. When more ambitious threads are broken again and again, after enormous effort, one learns not to aim beyond the next few hours. I putter around, and work on skills and tools that will hopefully make it possible to use what time I have, when it eventually comes, one of these days. As far as artwork goes, there’s a sense of trying not to let the spark fade out. The things that keep me sane and stable are not currently possible, most of the time. Yes, that means I’m less sane, less stable, also less articulate, less amusing, less sociable. My creative and social energy goes into helping my daughter to figure out the world and learn to talk and interact. It is time well spent, but I do miss myself.
In years to come, as our daughter starts spending more time away, at school and with friends, I know I’ll miss these current days of sun, wonder, animals and the alphabet, the smell of pee, and the delight of discovering cattails. Lots of fun, chasing, giggling, exploration. Very little of my life is about me, though, and I’m not sure what will be left of my identity in another year. I’ll figure something out then, and I’ll try to keep pausing to breathe occasionally in the meantime. Figuring that loss of self will turn out to be a gift in the long run, a door to transformative growth, etc. In the short run, though, it gets hard at times.