As July unfolds into a spectacular display of heat and light, I find myself unfolding too— bursting, even, at the hand-sewn seams of my own desires.
My desires do not fit a season meant for sweat and daydreams and long conversations.
Not me. I want to make and to do and to go.
All three of those verb tenses are built for autumn and spring, not summer.
In summer, I watch with a smile, sweet, a little rueful, as the wants pile up.
I want to sew curtains and to bake fresh desserts. I want to start on my next big book project and to set up my darkroom again.
Outside, the temperature climbs past one hundred degrees.
The clouds are thin wisps from winter stories.
It is the wrong season, again, and I am dreaming big.
Late last summer, I picked up my sketchbook and began to draw.
This item, too, has been on my list. I love to draw, really, but for me it is an acquired skill not an automatic one. I promised myself that I would draw every day. I started in August.
And I drew every day, with dusty gusto, for months and months.
In November, I started Bluebird Blvd. Then December came with presents and trips, followed by January, a month that found me full of words that needed ink and shape.
I put my drawing pencil down and have not picked it up for half a year.
I made a choice, a good one I think, about how I would spend my time.
Soon, I will draw again, but I won’t fret over it.
I am learning, finally, that time is not flexible, but it is fluid.
In another season, I would be wringing my hands for the promise I broke. Thankfully, this is not that season.
I am kinder than I used to be— with myself, and with all those folks I love and respect.
It is as if I have learned how to put on my own oxygen mask in an emergency, and then tend to those around me as I breathe good air.
The oxygen mask I place over my face in this case is the reminder that I write with constancy, fervency— and writing is a world within a world. I make notes and research and revise and read and design and edit. All of this work means that I can post something new on Bluebird Blvd. every day.
Plans change. I made a different choice, one that means a great deal to me. So, I put on my oxygen mask and joyfully go on about my business of writing words that I hope will mean something to the world.
When I think about these big desires of mine, and there are many, I have learned to have a little tenderness for the part of me that dreams, and a little tenderness for the part of me that does meet many goals in a day, in a week, in a year.
In the meantime, the temperature around here continues to rise and spike. My dreams bloom into cathedrals of trailing clouds and scribbled notes.
I am okay with this way of being.
I stand at the balance between dreaming and making.
I hold each with a delicate hand, guiding what can be done into the bright light of day, tucking the lovely wants and wishes I cannot do now into workable lists and sketches.
Tenderness makes the wishful part of me bloom in this regular heat. Tenderness allows the wakeful part of me write words that become sentences that become stories that I will tell you today, and always.
And the underlying themes of these stories I tell are often founded two ideas, two ideas imbued with this learned tenderness of mine: Nothing is perfect. And imperfection is perfectly wonderful.
* The weather confusion is a continuing problem of mine. Seasonal Discombobulation Disorder in the Country of Bluebirdistan.
* Here’s one of the drawings I did in fall of 2011 when I was drawing every day.
DEAREST READER: This story originally ran on July 5, 2012 (last year). The reason I am posting this piece tonight is that it reminded me that compassion lies at the heart of all the things I love most. (Well, compassion and a bit of punchiness.) (Erm, make that compassion, a bit of punchiness, and humor.) (No wait— one more. Compassion, punchiness, humor, and camaraderie. Yeah. That sounds about right. Sending all of y’all some love and respect tonight from Texas. <3)