Monday, January 9, 2012

wiping away the dust.

I was going through my old drafts today, little snippets of discarded insight, when I came across the passage below. I wrote it about the year I spent in Kentucky, living hotel-to-hotel, as a union organizer. I was 22 and it was my first job out of college.

I'm so glad I found it, a little glimpse of summer in the middle of January.


There was something that I loved about walking out of my hotel room on a summer morning, when the air was still cool enough and everything was still damp, before the sun scorched mad and forced the dew to evaporate.
I never had to be at the office until 10. TEN! Do you know how long I'd already been awake by then? Hours. I almost never had to rush around in the morning to get ready, and if I did it was because I'd taken too much time eating breakfast, gotten engrossed in my book, let the shower water caress me longer than usual.
My walk was cheerful then. I was approached once walking into a gas station by an older gentleman who asked me if he's seen me reading the news. I grinned and told him it wasn't me and he said "Darling, you've got the aura of a movie star." I told him he made my entire day, and it had. I felt pretty, assured.
I guess having a career at 22 will give you a false sense of confidence.
Those mornings, they stick with me.
It's really one of the most lovely times to be by yourself. You have time and your full attention to devote to the subtle changes around you as morning gives in and the meat of the day begins to take shape. I had a lot of mornings like this, in Kentucky. All the time in the world to myself and I think I realized that I needed to relish in it a little. I almost never turned on my televisions in the room. I loved that. I don't prefer to spend my time that way. I made friends that invested their time in hiking and tennis and seeking out adventure. At night I'd drink wine and soak in the bathtub while reading a book almost every night.
I was lonely, I remember that. At least for part of the time. But I think I settled in to a point where even that faded.
I miss it.
I miss those mornings and the freedom and the frustration and the challenge.

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