Some days I wish I could just stop writing. It would make for an easier life, to be sure. Pleasant meals and television and planning for the holidays. Shopping for scarves and boots and gloves. Making a list and picking up the items at the grocery. It would make for living life and being part of it instead of always being an observer. Instead of always being outside looking in. Always re-framing every experience immediately into words. It’s an illness, of sorts. An obsession.
I think if I were to stop writing, it would take me a step closer to placid. It would make for a quieter life. But even as I cook a meal, there is noise in my head. “The inside of the potatoes smell like turned soil and winter.” “The fresh cut lime smells like hope and gusto.” “The carrots remind her of Spain.” It would be so much simpler to simply cut the potatoes and the lime. To peel and dice the carrots and toss them into the soup. To be able to look out the kitchen window and see glimpses of the evening sky through the trees and not feel compelled to try to find the name for that particular shade of blue.
The other day I watched as a woman stepped into a crosswalk and almost got hit by a car. It freaked her out. She jumped back three steps and then moved toward the car and then backed away. I was sitting in my car waiting for a break in opposing traffic, watching all of this. And while I was concerned for the woman’s well-being and glad she had missed that close call, what was in my head as I drove away was: “And then she carried on, but everything about her day had changed. The snow on the backs of the geese resting along the shore of the Charles looked a little bit whiter. The air seemed a little bit crisper. She noticed, when the late afternoon sun slanted across the tops of beech trees, how it turned the bark a pale shade of rose. When she arrived home that evening, the smell of her husband’s skin was just a little bit cleaner and a little bit more complex than it had been that morning before they got out of bed. When she pressed her face against the warm skin on his neck, the scent of him pulled her in just a little bit tighter.”
image courtesy of thelibraryman