For most of my adult life, I have held a weekday office hour kind of job. Generally, sometime between 7 am and 6 pm, Monday through Friday, you could find me at my workplace or at a school. I might have had a unique career as an environmental educator, but the schedule was still somewhat mostly mundane, with a few weekend and evening events thrown in a couple times a month. Not so this fall. I left my job, enrolled in massage therapy school, and started piecing together a living with an erratic schedule of a few part time gigs. The erratic schedule has included a new 2:30-10:30 p.m. shift and then a quiet 15 minute drive home. I marvel pulling into my apartment and needing to use my gate key, as I’m usually safely tucked into my bed by this hour, and if I’m awake my companion is a good thick book.
All of a sudden, I remember my night owl college days and I relish the relatively quiet hour. I quickly pull into a parking spot, turn off the car, and tiptoe to my second floor apartment, even though the nearby highway sounds are probably louder than my footfalls. My feet are tired and I long to turn to bed, so I can wake at my preferred middle of the night early morning, 4 a.m. Alas, I can’t. I’m wired from four hours of school followed with eight hours of work.
I pour a small glass of wine, or a glass of water, depending upon the day and my mood. I slip off my shoes. I turn the light off in the kitchen and my eyes adjust to the darkness. I step carefully over to the patio, where I leave the sliding door open to the screen door while I am gone (one of many blessings of a second floor apartment). The screen door squeaks as I let myself out into the night air.
I plop down into one of the two turquoise Andirondack chairs and rest my glass on the wide armrest. I tuck my feet under, or stretch them out and prop them onto the black wrought iron railing. I take a few breaths. I can hear the chirp of crickets, the hum of the nearby highway, occasionally a distant horn, and most delightfully a sporadic yip from a neighboring coyote.
I sit. I let my mind rest. I take a couple of deep breaths. I slurp water or wine. My back unfolds and stretches out into the patio chair. I feel the cool, finally, of late evening, after a summer of record heat. I breathe again. I find myself right here, and nowhere else. Sometimes, I yearn for one person to sit in the other Andirondack chair next to me. Mostly, though, I just sit, relax, breathe, and let go of the layers of the day. In this moment, it’s just me and a glimpse of the moon shining down.