Ten.Three Hundred & Fifty-Three

1. I can tell by the opaqueness of the sky that it will be another hot day. This is one morning where I won't be too cold for yoga in the basement. 

2. A big black bird descends into the window well to eat a slug. It leaps up and out to go do whatever it does with a slug. 

3. Mapping.

4. I write about the things I do instead of writing and decide that for the next 45 minutes I’m going to just write whatever comes up.  

5. I write a page of questions to ask her; five haiku, a few pages about trusting myself. 

6. We catch up on life and on Fever Dreams and on other projects. I tell her that the book did indeed change my life.  

7. We head to the library. I find another herb book and pick up The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. 

8. More dates added.  

9. Old John Mayer and a painfully late dinner. 

10. Breathing.  

Ten.Three Hundred & Fifty-Two

1. 5:30 am run to the store for syrup and challah and coffee. She wants to make him french toast for Father's Day.

2. I show her how to grind the coffee beans and which buttons to press on the maker. I see her in me. She is a caretaker, to some extent, and I both love this and am worried by it. I guess it will be okay as long as she learns to take care of her self. 

3. I keep thinking about what she said. About how she was surprised by the other kinds of work I do. I realize it's because what I am really so good at is what I really want to do. What would it be like to do only that—to write only my own words, to only run creative retreats, to only run writing workshops, to feed people, to make people think in ways they've never thought before, to create sacred space for people to gather and experience one another.

4. I think back to how I described what I do with people at the On Being Gathering: I facilitate experiences for women to explore their creative truth in the form of online and in-person workshops and retreats. Yes, I just want to do that. 

5. It's been open for only 6 minutes and the parking lot is full. We are here for steaks and wine. We find a package of ribeyes and settle on a 2012 Hietz Cabernet Sauvignon. 

6. We stop once more for and get a bottle of 2010 Chateau Lalande-Borie Bordeaux. 

7. I close the book. I am done and undone. 

8. I forgot the whipped cream for the shortcakes. She comes with me to the store to grab a few more ingredients and decides to grab a bag of chocolates for her father. 

9. Even in the shade, the heat is oppressive. I can feel the weight of every bead of sweat collecting above my brow. But there is also something pleasing about the stillness of the air. 

10. I eat another shortcake.

Ten.Three Hundred & Fifty-One

1. Sleeping in.

2. The ground is wet from dew but the soil is still quite dry. I set about to water it. A strong breeze blows the water back toward me. I laugh. 

3. It's going to be a hot, long drive into the city for this shoot today. But hopefully it will be worth it. The editor says she trusts me which means I need to go into this trusting myself. 

4. Birthday parties for kids you don't know. I drop him off and use up some store credit from a Christmas return. The mall is a dark and empty place. 

5. I put pull on and pull off pants and shirts. This is another reason I do not like to shop. I have a hard time with what I see in the mirror. I keep trying on clothes. Keep trying to rewrite the stories I have about myself and my body. I realize that I've ignored these stories because I created space for myself where there are no scales and no full-length mirrors. 

6. At last a pair of shorts that I can convince myself to purchase. 

7. I always get nervous before these kinds of things. It's been a while since I've shot some food. And this is my first newspaper assignment so I'm extra nervous. 

8. The restaurant is small and a little dark but I think I know how to work with this space. I remind myself that I am a natural light photographer. This is what I work with exclusively. I know this kind of space best.

9. "It’s the quality of a particular interaction that creates the replication of energy." - John Paul Lederach, On Being

10. I'm miles and miles away from the redwoods, barreling down the highway headed home, but I listen to them speak and am back in the lushness of that weekend. I remember Shabbat and how to listen and how to speak and how to observe and how to rest. 

Ten.Three Hundred & Fifty

1. Snooze. 

2. Dreams of being places that I do and don't want to be. People seem to be confused. 

3. Nowhere to be but here. 

4. Donut run. One very old pick-up on over-sized wheels with two large American flags attached to the bed. In the parking lot of the donut shop, A bumper sticker with a heart, a cross, and a gun. An American flag bandana hanging from the rear-view mirror. I think maybe I don't belong here after all. 

5. I dip the old-fashioned into my coffee before heading down to the basement to work. 

6. It looks like rain but I don't think it will fall. 

7. I didn't realize I was supposed to pick him up. I round up the two of them and get in the car to drive to Naperville. The ride there feels longs. My mind is just preoccupied with so many other things. 

8. I follow the thoughts all the way through and realize that it's not anger but shame. The shame of being a black person who cannot swim and thus a black woman who's kids cannot swim. 

9. Turkey burgers again for dinner. I think I was able to convert him with these. 

10. I forgive myself for feeling shame. 

Ten.Three Hundred & Forty-Nine

1. I let myself sleep in until 5 because it's cleaning day. The clouds are pushing east and the air is quiet. 

2. Knowing versus Learning.

3. Today just feels like the day to stop. And then I realize that it's exactly two weeks until my birthday and so yes, this makes sense. I've been really into numbers lately. Not necessarily numerology, but just paying attention to what numbers I'm seeing and how they make me feel. 

4. I still don't like the idea of announcing digital sabbaths but it feels necessary to do so. I don't know how long I'll be gone. I never know how long I'll choose to be gone when I leave which is kind of the interesting piece when it comes to these kinds of breaks. Sometimes one week is enough, sometimes three weeks is not enough.

5. Chairs. 

6. The impulse to check is strong. 

7. I drive all of us to Naperville to spend a little bit of time with friends. I always get asked when I'm going to move back. There's always a house for sale. Maybe. Maybe if he gets a different job with a bit of a pay-raise then we might move back. I try not to think about that. Right now, despite my feeling of loneliness, moving back isn't the focus. Rooting is. 

8. I grab the chairs and they are just brown enough and not red at all and I'm relieved. 

9. She asks if we can talk about other things, not grow-up things. 

10. We look up and see the sky. The sun is setting. The sky is the color of cornflower and the clouds are a pale pink. I can't move back. I'd never see these kinds of sunsets.