I wake up slowly, with the sunrise. I don’t get out of bed until the light is leaking, in dozens of little windows, across the hall outside the bedroom door. It gilds my kitchen window. My bathroom sink. The half-wall between kitchen and living room, staining its oak a brilliant bronze.
I pull out a coffee mug – my favourite one – and set the kettle to boiling. I ground coffee beans, pull down the french press, ready a spoon. I lean against the counter as the light floats through the kitchen. In less than half of an hour it won’t shine this brightly through these windows. I savour it.
I’m sitting at my desk, coffee steaming beside me, trying to sort the morning’s thoughts. I need to apply for employment insurance, I realize. An adult thing to do that I’ve been staunchly ignoring for the past three days. I open the application.
I have a conference call for work in an hour. I tidy the living room, sorting through the pile of paperwork that was a result of yesterday’s kitchen de-cluttering. I get dressed in my favoured video-call outfit: a black turtleneck and jeans, a scrunchie around my ponytail. I put eyeliner on for the first time in a week, and my mascara behaves. I love it.
I step outside to start a load of laundry, and the sun is warm and the air is brisk and all I can think is I need to spend more time outside, in the air, in my yard, on my porch, in the sun. There are birds sitting on the telephone lines that cross our backyard. I stop to watch them, knowing they won’t sit still long. They chirp, first at each other, then me, and swoop into a nearby tree.
Breakfast is a toasted cucumber sandwich. We’re running low on food supplies. “Grocery list” gets added to my mental running list of to-dos. I wash up the dishes from breakfast and last night’s late-night snack of sweet potato fries and chipotle mayo, and start the kettle again for a cup of tea.
That was the shortest conference call I’ve ever been on, but I have no complaints. It was concise, communicative, and they’re using email for further individual updates. Brilliant. Efficient. Even if I am feeling a bit starved of a social life. Speaking of which, I need to schedule in some writing dates for this week. My tea is sweet and comforting and the sun looks like it’s here to stay for the day – there are bluebird skies, and chirping choruses beyond my window. It’s a slow, beautiful, warms-you-on-the-inside kind of day.
I declutter the living room – other than the pile of literature anthologies and Important Paperwork that have made daunting homes beneath the television. I add “list those anthologies on my books-to-be-read list” to my mental to-dos. I flip the laundry, and promptly forget to turn the dryer on. I enjoy the excuse to go back outside, down the steps to our little cellar, and to sit a while on the sun-warmed porch edge, saying hello to the rabbits nestling in our firepit, and to the little dog next door who dislikes passers-by intensely but ignores me entirely.
I’m making a fresh cup of coffee – instant, this time, for a quick pick-me-up. It’s bronzed and steaming and it smells like the warm, sleepy calm of having just woken up and the sunlight of golden mornings.
I finished re-organizing those anthologies, and the Important Paperwork has all found its way into proper homes and files. The living room looks lived in and loved and clean. I fold the dryer-warm towels, put the bedding into the wash. Freshly laundered sheets offer a very specific and much-needed brand of domestic bliss.
I sit down to work at my desk, reluctantly. I clear my desk, turn on some pretty coffee shop music, sit with my fresh cup of coffee. I brain-dump a list of to-dos to remove the paralyzing overwhelm that accompanies the dive back into something avoided. I write.
I’m drinking another coffee, one I’m sure my evening self won’t appreciate. Working has segued into talking to friends about frustrations and fears and hopefuls and laughs. Tomorrow is a new day. Tonight can be a quiet, sweet, studious night, when my inner critic sleeps and I can embrace the wild trails my thoughts want to run.
I’m washing up the dishes from dinner prep when I look out the window above my kitchen sink and realize it’s snowing. It was a balmy 10°C earlier this afternoon, but it’s snowing. The sun is still shining – half the sky painted blue and white, the other half a gray, whistling whirl of clouds – and snow is bobbing, sweeping, weightless in the wind. I stand outside in it until my sock-covered toes are chilled and my nose a bright pink.
We are making a concerted effort to eat Properly, with a capital P, with this whole work-from-home situation. It doesn’t change much for us, really, and is no new ball game – we’ve been students at the same time before, which involved a lot of working together from home. But this feels different, this emotional timeless time – and so, we have been (of course) reaching for cookies and baked goods and a lot of pasta. Tonight’s dinner is baked lemon pepper salmon, roasted broccoli, and quinoa. Love me, body. I am feeding you Properly.
It kept snowing through dinner, through the flipping of the laundry to bring dryer-fresh sheets inside, through the sleepy sunset that has faded to a wintry blue-gray. In the sunshine of this afternoon I had considered preparing the garden, but “Not yet,” Spring whispered through the snow. “Not quite yet.”
The light above the oven is the only light in the kitchen; there’s a candle burning beside me on my desk; I’m tidying the bedroom in lamp-light. Every evening we begin to dim the lights as we settle into evening work. We make tea. Soft music plays. Time slows. Early mornings and late evenings hold their own kinds of magic.
What is it about evenings – about slow days – about even slower nights – that they can make me feel so contentedly tired? I’m filled to brimming with the days and the weeks that all want to be present at once, that murmur, “Look at all this living you’ve done.”
I take off my eyeliner, my well-behaved mascara. I wash my face and brush my hair and my teeth and slip into the most well-worn and most-beloved of sweatpants and over-sized tees. My partner is alternately scribbling and typing away at his desk. I’ve a hot cup of water beside me, my latest writing project open in front of me, and quiet instrumentals playing in my ears.
Five hundred and forty-three words written. I come back to this world from the one I was visiting, but I’ll likely see it again in sleep. It’s time to sink into clean sheets.