It’s not the sound of the lifeguard’s voice booming over the intercom system from the beach, shouting greeting and warnings in Hebrew and ending with a terse, “To-DA,” that wakes me this morning. It’s a turn towards the shuttered window and a natural opening of eyes. Without any further effort, I’m awake. I walk soft-footed to the big window in the living room in socks too big for me, I wrap a well-worn fleece around me like a burrito and open the door. The glorious coolness of morning washes over me with it’s velvety humidity. I know that will last only another thirty minutes at best. The waves crash right over the breakers out in the water and I can hear them all the way up here on the 17th floor. White foam trickles through the cracks in the breakers before running it’s never-ending race to the sand.
I’m inspired to bring my coffee onto the balcony, but I don’t want to leave this view in case the fog has lifted by the time I return. I remember that it’s Saturday. There are no time constraints. I remember my young surf instructor, in a moment of true wisdom saying simply, “There will always be another wave,” as I paddled ferociously only to miss one. He’s right. There is a rhythm to the things that matter and as long as we’re on Earth the big turbines of life will continue to churn on. Each wave might look different, feel different, but there’s always another wave.
I turn on the hot water and watch it’s blue light glow through the bubbles. I scoop a spoonful of pebbly instant coffee into my borrowed mug. A year ago I would have scoffed at drinking instant coffee, but I’ve become accustomed to it now. It’s amazing how little the little things seem when you’re happy with who you are and what you’re doing. If I had only known this twenty years ago, but that is life-the journey of learning it’s the inside that matters when the world forces the outsides upon you. People told me all of this, but I learn by doing and it took me some time to catch on.
Tall shadows still paint their shadows onto the sand and into the ocean when I return to the balcony. I look to my right and see the shape of the city in the morning. The White City’s Bauhaus architecture shimmers in the morning light through the empty spaces between skyscrapers. But at this time of day, they aren’t even skyscrapers yet, just rectangles in varying shades of grey. They seem as if they’re waiting in a queue behind the mist. Up so high with them, I feel like I’m in league with an army of giants waiting for the opportune moment to uproot their parking structures and steel beams to make a run for it. Into the ocean we would go. But I know I’m the only one of us who will dip into the ocean today. And I’m the only one who’s truly a giant. 5’3″, but I feel like a giant. I’ve grown in the past three years, more than I’ve ever grown in my lifetime. Uprooting my steel beams and parking structures a year ago was a risky move. For a while, I felt unsteady, like it all might come crashing down and perhaps it did to some extent, but I’m free now. It was all worth it.
It’s Saturday. I love Saturdays. I’m writing and I’m drawing. I’m drinking instant coffee 7 hours and a day’s worth of plane flights away from what I used to call home, but it only ever occurs to me when I stop to think about it. I feel at home here because for me, home is wherever my husband and I are together and wherever I have a desk filled with two hundred sharpies, pens, markers, sketchbooks, and journals.
I could draw anything right now. I could write anything right now. Of course, I could draw and write anything, anytime, but Saturday mornings bring out the most intuitive parts of me. I draw the raggediest lines. I don’t care what they make. I use all sorts of textures. It appears I’m making a map of sorts, but not for any place in this world. Shapes come haphazardly from the lines and I don’t care what they are. In the end, I decide it’s a map for “Here.” Here is where I am when I don’t want to be “There” and “There” is the place you are when you have to do things you don’t want to do and talk to people you don’t want to talk to.
I’m lucky. Most days I’m Here now and Here is a magical place.
I know what the day will bring today, but I’m in no rush. A big breakfast, a workout, yoga, a photo tour of the city, a few more pages written in the novel, a little work on illustrations for the book, planning a visit from my sister and maybe I’ll create something new too. I forget about all the stories I’ve submitted. I’ll hear back eventually. Right now, all that matters is that I wrote them at all. I forget about the fact that I’m spending eight to ten hours a day on a project that could quite possibly never make me any money. I’d rather have the joy I have now in creating than the worry and stagnancy that comes with anxiety. It’s time to enjoy the now, now and save the later for later.
I only have things to look forward to, so I might as well make them last today and every day.