Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Boxed In

If I hibernated, it would be this time of year. Minutes bleed from every day, dripping into the pool of darkness that will spread to its largest more than a month from now. The intrusion of a work day tears the bright heart out of the daylight hours. Sleeping in, so natural in a time of slowing metabolism and inward thoughts, is the unforgivable sin, punished by loss of the day.

For most of three seasons, a person has a little time to think, to plan, to improvise, and still go out with few special preparations. Then comes the darkness.

Today, the sun came out of the thick clouds just in time to set. All day, rain showers alternated with light drizzle. I considered a masochistic fixed-gear ride, but I really have too much to try to do. I need to prepare work for an art and crafts sale at the end of the month. My stuff did really well there last year. I need to package and send submissions to markets that might actually pay something. They get bombarded with a thousand submissions a day, but they do buy something. Why not mine? If it never arrives in their office, of course it never gets picked.

For years I've been "more of an athlete than a (fill in the blank) [cartoonist] [artist] [writer] [music student]" Only in the last year have I consciously forced myself to allocate my time differently. The net result has not been massive amounts of creativity, just a lot less exercise.

On a day when I don't have to go anywhere, it's hard to justify a ride, unless I can guarantee that the energizing effects will make me more productive. But if I can't hop out of bed and knock it out first thing, it's quite likely not to get done at all.

When other substances or activities provided that steady undercurrent of hopeful energy, a rainy day was a gift. Nothing was any better than sitting in a warm, well-lighted room, doodling and looking out at the weather. But back then I held the problems of the world and a human in it at a long arm's length. The price of engagement has been the time I spend grappling with the forces of existence. The return has been a more informed view of the world in which we all struggle.

The winter holds no promise anymore. We get what we get and do what we can with it. All I can do now is try to get past that time of year we call "the Holidays" with some shred of sanity intact, and look toward the rising sun of midwinter.

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