Friday, July 3, 2009

Being Off

Summer is a barren season for me.

I usually have time off from work, and during the hectic, mad days just before this break, I have plans, concrete, substantial plans about what should be accomplished during the break. My father used to say that a holiday is not necessarily time off, but time to change the nature of work for a short while. So dutifully, I prioritize projects, categorize chores, even establish a time table. I also imagine the rest of my colleagues and students doing the same. By the end of this week, I had thought to be able to have a definite body of finished work, precipitated pearls that would vouch for my industrious nature and self-motivation.

But inevitably, like every Summer, I have nothing. Literally, the past week, I have measured out my life in coffee spoons and cat feedings.

I find I have lost the week to day dreaming, missing my child until I thought my entrails would spill out if I got up, sleeping very little, chatting online, reading, and watching episodes of Star Trek checked out from the public library. I didn't leave the house and forgot dates and days. I don't even remember the passage from 8:30am to 2pm. It has also been raining constantly, so the light outside has only heightened this atmosphere.

I went to the beach, once, during the week, hoping to catch the moon rise. But everything was a singular non-color, and the dimensions were all wrong. I couldn't see the horizon: the heavy, iron of the ocean had blended perfectly with the low swamp of the sky. There were no waves crashing against the sand; instead, the water lapped lethargically against itself. I didn't stay for long, since I can take a cosmic hint: it wasn't a good week for the beach.

I read that some of my friends have been doing yard work, catching up on syllabi, fixing up their house, visiting exotic locales, meeting each other for coffee and lunches, while I have beamed off the planet, orbiting Facebook like a lost asteroid.

However, I also know I need this staring-into-space time. Too often, I think, we forget to just be, get swallowed up in the intense busyness of finding work to justify our existence, to earn our keep. This blog belongs to one of those islands of liminal time, where nothing happens, because nothing is allowed to happen. This week, I don't believe is wasted time, since meaningful time wouldn't be exist if there were no time without meaning.

In an ideal world meaning and its opposite would be perfectly balanced. In other words, people would work only for half their waking hours. I sincerely believe that a deliberate denial of constant work is essential for meaningful, productive schedules.

There needs to be a non-definition to one's days, designations, even self-hood. I fantasize that's what vacations and break times were constructed for. However, sometimes, even on vacations, I find myself trying to cram in as much sight-seeing, things-to-do as I possibly can, which exhausts the spirit more than the body. So much of me gets used up, I am surprised I can spill out of the bed the following mornings, and mercury-like, run sporadically through another day, viscous and undefinable. This kind of vacation fails to do its work, and I find myself snatching my staring-into-space time while at my desk at work, or at the stove, cooking.

The week has been a chthonic time, twilight terrain, liminal space. It has been pregnant with possibilities: every hour, I had a wide array of choices, and I chose nothing, leaving the hour intact and unbroken. After a time of stasis like this, a time of hectic schedules follows, beginning with the end of 4th of July, and I know I won't get another break until next Summer.

The very mention of a specific day, date, and number signifies the end of my Dream. I am afraid it might be time to notice that the rains have stopped, the sun is high, the horizon very clear. I shall dislodge the cat and light a votive in my little temple-shrine; the day has begun.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful ideas here--I'll return to this post whenever I need permission to loaf.