There are times, after work, when I cannot think and I cannot write; when husband won't be home for a few hours still; when I know that if I linger indoors, I won't be able to resist Netflix's silky charm; when, in order to be productive, I simply must get out of the house.
This is, of course, easier now that it is summer and outside can be a destination all of its own.
Some days, like today, I fill the basket of my bicycle with a canvas tote of books and pedal to the small park nearby.
Inside the park, there are two small baseball fields and two average tennis courts, each set fenced and well-groomed. I sit on a bench dappled in sunlight, my bike propped near my crossed knees, a notebook in my lap and I write.
The air is sweet with the smell of freshly cut grass, and even though the laughter of the kids in the adjacent playground could be described as distracting, I find it easier to focus even just a few blocks from the solitude of my own home.
I was having drinks with a friend one evening last week, and I made a comment about a mutual acquaintance of ours and her choice to live in Williamsport over of her native Seattle. "I just don't understand it," I quipped, mostly joking, but, at the same time, all together serious.
"Yes, but you chose Williamsport too," my friend remarked, putting me in my place. Because as much as I may sigh inwardly, I chose this place too. And there is a fine line between the good of dreaming about somewhere new, and the sin of failing to see the blessings in the place where you are.
If I could write my own story, the spot near our house—the place I occasionally seek out to clear my head—would be a garden full of roses and climbing ivy, instead of a park of little league diamonds and red dirt. Perhaps there would be an adjacent cafe (instead of a playground) or a quiet conservatory with hidden benches (instead of a trio of pre-teens gathered by the batting cages, cautiously putting out their joints when they notice a strange woman sitting on the hill, writing).
I know (though I need often to be reminded) that I can't have that kind of control over the small details of everyday life. That the scent of freshly cut grass and children's laughter in the air is something to be overwhelmingly grateful for, though it may not be the exact picture I would paint.
The point is this: growth is a fundamental human need, and it manifests itself in the way we respond to what we have, as opposed to how big we dream. He and I are dreamers. And lately, when we look at where we are, we are filled with discontent. So this is a call to myself (even if i sounds like a broken record). A reminder and just the smallest slap in the face. Realize the joy in the space where you are. And if you can''t see it, obstructed as it may be by what you think you want, well, look a little harder.
Past notes to self here.