We have lift-off.
Sometimes, in the search for silence and focus, the only answer is to journey away from that which is familiar. And so I find myself in Manhattan for less than two days, walking the city streets aware of the fabrics and hues and tactile impressions of a city always moving, never stopping.
I find it hard to say no to those who inquire, difficult to simply request of myself the quiet, the solitude, the time for reflection that a life of creativity demands. My plane soars and crests over cloud, over field, and then eases into the plane of a bustling city by diving so close to the surface of the water, that I intake breath, before exhaling completely.
Yesterday, the sun shone. Streetsides hummed. I ducked over and beyond the streets that I knew, spun wide creamy-coated noodles around a fork in an urban garden. The cappuccino was excellent even though the bread was cold.
I found pressed tin ceiling and red brick wall in a Soho bakery. The lemonade was cold and exactly as I wanted. Even in the far reaches of a city not mine, I found a familiar voice, a smile, an embrace from a person who has paralleled my own trajectory since we were small. Moments like those are absolutely delicious.
We spoke of reunions and celebrations and the awe that comes from finding someone you can spend four nights with and never grow bored. I don’t have four nights, I told him, because my life revolves around three precious souls who are everything at once.
The city awakes earlier than I, which is miraculous if you know me, and today I lingered between the sheets because it was possible to do. An old movie, an early sunrise, the promise of adventure in a city that is always new to me, even though I know the contours of its hands.
Today, I insist on solitude. Soon, there will be pastry and coffee and delicate bites of exquisite flavor as I pore over a newspaper that begs to be read and which arrives on doorsteps everywhere in the world because it has something to say. I am acutely aware of the lack of stories being printed in my own city but I will not give in to the fear.
I will return to my children soon and my expectations of to-do lists and tasks, all important, all necessary, but the enlightenment that comes from a day away, a moment alone, an inhale of air not quite the same as that which I always breathe, that is the fuel propelling this dream forward into something better than French fries.
Keep doing the work. Keep climbing the mountain. The peak is just the peak; the downward walk is just as exhilarating as the climb up.
This summer, I will learn to sail. Because I can do anything, I can do everything, and if I’m smart enough, I absolutely will.