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Born in the US, raised on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, lived in Italy, the US, and Canada. Lover of language, travel, colour, and the natural world.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Quietly wondering

It is Tuesday night, and it is finally silent. Well...sort of. I can still hear traffic outside, but there are fewer cars, and in between I can hear the wind in the trees outside. It is only 10.20pm. By midnight it will be mostly quiet. Late night has become my favourite time of day here, I think because it is the only time when I can lie in bed and listen to nothing but the wind in the trees. A train rumbles across the valley late at night--some places I have lived have church bells. Here the rumbling train moving across the valley marks the passage of time in the same way. It reminds me where I am--in the middle of a wide open floodplain valley that is considered to be some of the most productive agricultural land in the country. It reminds me that I am in a vast land, and that the coast that I am used to having so near by that I can almost reach out and wrap it around my shoulders like a shawl, is far away.

Earlier I was in the kitchen barefoot waiting for the kettle to whistle, and listening to the wind sing through the screen door leading out into the garden. Dinner was over. My parents had gone out for a walk, and it was quiet for a precious 30 minutes. I could hear my own feet move across the kitchen floor.

I started researching a travel article that I had to have in to an editor today last Friday. I researched all day Friday, most of the night Friday night, all day Saturday, and most of the night Saturday night, all day Sunday, and Sunday night. On Monday I started writing. I wrote all day, and late into the night last night, sitting, sitting, sitting at my desk trying to conjure up images of Atlantic islands in my imagination. Trying to remember how it felt to drive along the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton with close friends, the sunlight filtering down through the trees, the car filled with laughter. Trying to decide which parts of Prince Edward Island to not include in my short few paragraphs about the island. Which part of six years of places I love are most essential? I finally sent my article off this afternoon, and went out on the back porch and sat in the sunshine and watched birds whose names I do not know hop around in the garden, and a squirrel leap from tree branch to tree branch. I inspected my tomato plants--two of which are covered in tiny yellow cherry tomatoes, and two of which do not show signs of ever producing fruit, and glanced at my arugula, which bolted before it ever really grew.

I have been doing a lot of silent wondering lately. Wondering whether all the work I am pouring into my writing is going to pay off in the long-term. Wondering how long it will take until I can write for magazines that pay a salary that will actually support me. Wondering if I have the stamina to keep going long enough to succeed as a writer. Wondering. It is a rough road, this much is very clear to me. I have given up social engagements and the hope of actually going anywhere exciting this summer, shopping and movies and new books and meals out with friends--even my weekends have been swallowed up with work, because I am still learning how long it takes to write a polished article, and because the learning curve is steep. For the first time in my life I am having to make large sacrifices on many levels. Giving up things makes me wonder a lot, and I am one who tends to do her wondering silently, while listening to the wind moving through the trees.

There is less traffic now, and more wind. In a place that tends to be hot and still at night, this unexpected breeze is a lovely surprise. I read in a blog recently that the best way to accomplish goals is to set them out loud and in public, but I find that setting my goals quietly and reflecting on them in my head and heart while I wait for the kettle to whistle, or look at the way the golden light is filtering through the upside down Mexican fishing basket that I converted into a lampshade at the bottom of my bed is making patterns on the ceiling seems to work better for me. I find that quietly wondering helps me work towards my goals slow but steady, in a way that loud sharing and public statements do not.

Do you quietly wonder?

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