Coming Home, Nostalgia, Long Long Long Winter.

I got back from Hawaii on Friday night, late. And worked the next day, and then felt entirely dizzy, out of it and near-drugged on Sunday afternooon, washed over with sunshine and pleasure, an itchy peeling tan, and a small but delightfully perfect concert featuring Joshua Radin, Cary Brothers and Miss Laura Jensen. What a happy, carefree, patio, friend and music-infused jovial, breezy week! And now I’m left with time to start my ‘regular’ life again – which consists of (I say it as often as I do it, I think) waking up, eating oatmeal for breakfast, going to work, eating soup for lunch, coming home, cooking and eating dinner, going to the gym, coming home, and then going to bed in anticipation of repeating the lonely cycle alllll over again…

My life here is so routine that in fact, to deviate from the routine is routine in itself; I’ve seen so many days in my life in Edmonton that were too cold to function outside my square of an apartment and so I ended up rotting away for hours online, neglecting anything productive (even blogging or writing, if those things count as ‘productive’) and sleeping on the couch and only feeling warmth from the enclosed heat of the room combined with 60 watts of sickly bored amber. It’s days like this that I yearn for what I had and did before real life set in. The life I had when I was sure of so many things and had all of my best friends surrounding me, people I got to see at least once a week, and feel the presence of every day in the city where I live; where anticipation was easy, because nothing was TRULY difficult; and what was difficult was temporal and in retrospect, unimportant and a waste of my precious future-thinking time. The life I’m referring to was the glorious time when I was in Write 395, an amalgamation of love exchanged between close allies, my best work produced and polished by those allies, alcohol, late nights, deep conversation and the buzzing surroundings of my own life, just beginning then – when I had no idea what real life would or could hold, or be for me, and I had no concept of yearning for an Edmonton-less existence at all (now, this existence is what drives me to do everything).

I bypassed the beginning of March due to my absence from this agonizing winter; I spent 10 hours on an airplane suspended in sunray-filled space, above humankind and outside of designated timezones and civilization; my airplane landed in paradise where I spent a whole week of hedonistic happiness, indulging and spending and shopping in ways I haven’t been able to in months. And none of it felt real, so none of it felt guilty, and all I cared about was being warm and embracing the feeling of sitting outside on a patio eating dinner in a sundress, something I hadn’t done since August of last year. The last few Marches I can recall started off warm and hopeful and by their exhausted midpoint, grew increasingly frigid and pessimistic. I associate cold March weather with very specific memories, even fairly old ones, because I’m not someone who ever forgets much, even if she should.

Nostalgia and looking back are constant themes in my life, and in the way I see everything; I associate places, walks, pathways, books, music, films, etc. very closely with the time in which I came into them. I keep written records of every thought or emotion I’ve ever fostered and I keep those written records sacred and raw, although I look to them constantly as a validation to how I feel, felt and will feel when something sparks that memory. And while I know for a fact that something great and powerful can be said about living in the present, I don’t do that; I find my power comes from living in the past and from memories, and the recall of events that have shaped and raised me, and this is how I know the world. And in the last seven years, I’ve experienced almost eight full long, long, long winters that are loaded with both good and bad memories, and light and dark thoughts.

I wrote once that March and November always seem the most loaded months of these long winters, and this has continued again and again to ring true. I’m expecting this March, for good or bad, to be just as loaded, and not break a valuable and sacred tradition. I’ll try and continue to pour my words like coffee into a humble mug, and drink in their intimacy.

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