Turning our faces toward the sun

Photo by Deanna Swauger (deannaswauger.blogspot.com)

Yesterday was my last at the new job in the desert.

So today felt like a weekend, though it was actually the exact middle. I remembered to remember how much I love time.

I slept in. I woke and made the kids breakfast. I folded the basket of laundry that’s been sitting untouched for several days. I put the clothes away.

I drank coffee, at my kitchen table, while I did nothing at all productive at my computer.

I led the kids in an art project that involved massive globs of finger paint and really long sheets of easel paper taped across that same kitchen table.

I finished the book I was reading. At 1 in the afternoon. On the couch with my husband. While the kids napped and played on their own. This sort of tranquil moment will never be overrated.

I cleaned out the kitchen cabinets and the refrigerator.

We went to the pool. I played with my kids in the water. I stretched out and turned my face toward the sun.

I pushed my daughter on the big-girl swing at the park, as long as she wanted. She seemed to soar.

I thought about where we are, where I’ve been, how we got here, what comes next. I thought about life and how crazy it is, how difficult some choices, how scary some leaps, how important our instincts really are. How too short it all is. Don’t sweat the small stuff, someone said once. Don’t sweat the big stuff, I sometimes believe. I’ve even said recently, “It’s just money.”

Despite some difficulties, the job at the paper out here in the desert was a leap worth taking. If not for the opportunity, we would never have met this beautiful land, my husband would never have made the spiritual connection to this place. He would have never written this amazing column.

Or maybe he would have. Maybe life is designed to give us all the experiences we are supposed to have, one way or the other. Maybe this desert would have found him, us, either way.

Whatever the case, this move and this job and this first home together were essential to our story, part of the “from now on” we began late last summer. Part of the new beginning.

So here we are.

I have a few weeks off before beginning my new job. I plan to spend that time being, more than anything else, present. If I’m productive at the same time, great, but it’s not a priority.

The new job means our family will move, one more time.

As exhausted as I am from change, I am looking forward to this new place. Finally, I feel like we just might have it figured out.

We’re headed east but only slightly. We’ll still be in the desert, but we’ll be in Colorado where a friend back home once told me she knows my heart lies.

The new job is perfect.

I’ll work from home, and I’ll work with online, that place of html and blogs and social media I never dug my heart fully out of last fall. I’ll be back. Not as editor of a website for moms, but as an editor of several newspaper websites in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around how amazing it will be to not have to leave my family every morning, to not have to pack a lunch, to be able to work from anywhere, at least most of the time.

I’m really feeling lucky. I’m remembering to remember to be thankful, to keep perspective, to hold my truth at hand. Always. To not give in or give up.

To continue to build a life that is beautiful, a life we all deserve.

It is possible. We’re on our way.

***

(It will change your life.)

“New Slang” – The Shins

i carry your heart with me

A year ago today, I rode my bike to work.

It was part of a master plan to be healthier and greener, more sustainable and more “urban.” Five days earlier, I’d moved into my new home in what I then thought was a perfect spot to be.

Riding my bike to work was part of the package, part of the new life, part of the happier world I was creating.

That morning, before I left, I sent a text message to a new friend.

“Happy birthday!”

He replied: “Thanks!”

And then, helmet on, laptop in my backpack, I locked up the new house and set off for the office. On two wheels for the first time.

I didn’t love it. But I wanted to. And I decided the badass quotient I carried in with me while pushing my bike through the newsroom to my cubicle would help the habit continue.

That afternoon, it started to rain.

I watched the clouds grow darker and the sky grow angrier out the window near my desk.

It will stop, I told myself as the afternoon waned. The clouds will part.

I will make it home, on my bike. Dry. In one piece.

But the clouds didn’t part and the rain didn’t stop and the sky didn’t get any lighter, minus the intermittent flashes of lightning.

The time to head home came, so I thought about being brave. I donned the helmet and grabbed the bike.

As I rode down the elevator, I thought, it won’t be so bad. It’s just rain.

But it was a lot of rain, and it was cold, and it was uphill. And the rain kept pounding, soaking my hair and freezing my skin and flooding my eyes.

It was, in the moment, character-building.

And in a small, odd way, it was exhilarating.

I finally made it home, to my new house in my new neighborhood, on my way to my new life.

I walked the bike up the steep driveway, licked rain off my lips and went inside and dried off.

I thought about the new friend with the birthday, wondered how he was celebrating. Two nights later, I’d make a point to stop at the bar where he worked. I’d not want to leave.

Over the next month, we’d get to know each other better. We’d decide to begin. We’d laugh like I never have before; he’d show me music for the first time.

All the pieces fit.

Today, that new friend is my husband, the key piece I didn’t yet know I’d find a year ago in Omaha, out in the rain.

We live in the Utah desert.

We live in the land of red sand and heat and sun and lizards and ants and very few clouds. Every day, the sun shines. Every day, the heat swelters.

But today?

Here in the desert, it’s raining.

I stood in my office just now, alone, watching the wind blow rain sideways down the street.

It was impossible not to think about last year, about that Tuesday I rode my bike to work. About that thunderstorm that made me feel alive, part of it all.

About that man, that cowboy, that made my new life real, that makes me believe anything is possible, that married me, married us, back in March.

Today is my love’s birthday. That is worth celebrating.