I posted a picture of this morning’s sunrise, completely unedited, to Instagram using my phone. (You can see it on the side of the blog, in that Instagram widget, if you don’t use Instagram. I’d post it here but I’m out of data for the month on my internet plan.) It was so pure — the sun sliding up the horizon, completely unencumbered by clouds. The sunset last night was amazing in a totally different way—lots of clouds, lots of layers, many shades of purple and red, going on for what felt like forever. And the sunrise yesterday morning was pretty nice, too. The night before, sunset, also spectacular. Sunrise that day, also lovely.
Sunset and sunrise are so ordinary. We all get them, every single day. They are the epitome of the everyday, in fact. Ha. And yet, in my current life, I spend so much time appreciating them. It’s something about being in new places all the time. Well, okay, also sunsets (and rises) over water are twice as spectacular as the ones without water. It’s the reflection that does it, of course. And when you’re sitting on a bench next to a fire pit watching the sky while a giant, gawky bird with legs longer than its body goes flapping by, awing you with the miracle of flight, appreciation comes easier than when you’re sitting in rush hour traffic, worried if you’re going to make it to the daycare before they start charging $10/minute.
Of course, the corollary to spending more time appreciating sunset and sunrise, water and birds, spider webs and flowers is that I also spend a lot more time wondering how I’m going to get my laundry done. Or whether the grocery store is going to have coconut milk. Or how to find a vet when the dog has yet another ear infection. It’s like my life is simultaneously sort of ethereal and sublime and also really mired in the daily necessities of existence, much more so than when I lived in a house and the question was just, “Do I need to do laundry?”, not “How am I going to get my laundry done?”
On Saturday, I was walking the dogs with my friend, E. I was crossing the road when I glanced behind me and saw that she and B had paused. I was the one carrying the clean-up bags, so I paused, too, to see if I needed to go back. Z kept going, though, tugging me along, so I took a few slow steps forward. Then I looked around and realized that I was standing on the double yellow lines, in the middle of the road, walking forward along them. It felt… thrilling. There was absolutely no traffic coming, so it didn’t feel dangerous. But the yellow lines beckoned the way ahead of me, like the yellow brick road in the Wizard of Oz.
I said to E, “I don’t think I’ve ever walked on the yellow lines before. I’m not really a middle of the road kind of person. I’m a safely on the side of the road person. Or better yet, a sidewalk person. It’s sort of weird.”
She laughed at me and then her expression changed. I could see her go thoughtful before she said, “You know, I don’t think I’ve ever walked along the yellow lines either.” So then she joined me in the middle of the road, and we walked down the yellow lines until we reached the corner and another sidewalk. It was ridiculously fun, in the way adventures that aren’t really adventurous can be.
On Friday night, I grilled steak and asparagus and roasted white sweet potato for a simple yet very tasty dinner. On Saturday morning, I made spicy sweet potato hash with a poached egg for breakfast. The sweet potato was orange that time. On Saturday night, I baked chicken thighs with lemon and capers and a little garlic salt, roasted purple sweet potatoes, and made a salad of mixed greens, apple, radish, cucumber, red onion, and a fig balsamic vinegar. Three different meals, three different sweet potatoes, all of them delicious.
I don’t know why those stories felt connected — something about the ordinary, the everyday, the sameness of sweet potatoes at every meal? But I don’t have time to ponder the relationship of adventure and the mundane in my new life anymore. Or to write about loneliness and joy, which was what I was thinking about while I watched the sunrise this morning and which is definitely worthy of a blog post of its own.
Instead, I’m going to solve the problem of getting the dog to a vet, not worry about the laundry, and write at least a few new words on Grace. May all our Cyber Mondays be productive!