For several days last week, the media gave its full, glaring attention a storm brewing in the Caribbean, what would become Hurricane Sandy, a monster storm that just very well may be the most damaging storm ever to hit the U.S. When it became apparent that this storm would merge with a sweeping low pressure system pushing its way across the Country, people began to take notice. Long story short, the storm lived up to its hype and moved ashore early this week just south of New York City. The initial damage estimates are well into the billions.
It’s interesting to me how seemingly surprised we are at events like this. Surprised when we build our largest cities on the coast. Surprised when we don’t heed the warnings of scientists and government officials who say that a warming Earth will only fuel more of these killer storms. Surprised when we can’t use our electrically powered devices. Surprised when things actually break down and we have to adapt.
When these things happen I wonder if our forefathers are somewhere looking down on us, shaking their heads and scoffing at what pathetic human beings we’ve become, reliant on everything but ourselves. And unable to face up to humanity’s biggest challenges. In some senses we’ve become petty and so small. Al Gore warned us a decade ago about the dangers of global warming and still we ignore it. Maybe Sandy will begin a wake-up. I sure hope so.
These are those paintings of sunsets that you can’t believe are real. Last night’s was real.
The last year has not been an easy one. After spending 6 months basically free of responsibility, in my very favorite place on earth, doing nothing but things for myself, returning to Atlanta – to a different Atlanta – was a bit shocking.
Summer was free and easy. Sure there were obligations to meet: I worked, I didn’t go in debt, I managed to lease my house to good tenants, I kept up with family and friends, I became part of an amazing community. For the only time in my life, I made a conscious decision to do what I wanted, not what was expected of me by my family, my friends, my colleagues or my community. It was pure freedom for me.
But all good things come to an end. And for some stupid reason it did not occur to me that returning to Atlanta and not living in my home of 16 years, not going to my job of the same number of years, having to carve out a whole new existance in the same old place might just be odd or even difficult. And it was! I had a vague notion that I wanted to learn the catering business so I worked an ill-defined job. I lived in the basement of friends, physically removed from my old neighborhood smack dab in the middle of everything. I was removed from privacy on my terms. I relied on my car to go everywhere. I found it frustrating and pretty much impossible to source, from Atlanta, a Summer 2012 kitchen space on the Cape. My schedule was the opposite of my friends’ and my hours the opposite of my housemates’. Money was tight. All these things were so foreign to me and I certainly felt them. Deeply. Sure, I was welcomed home with big, wide, loving, open, generous arms. My city was more beautiful than ever. I got the opportunity to learn the restaurant business first-hand. I saw more of several very close friends than I had in years. All good. All great. But I missed the ecstatic summer months on the Cape. I missed the sunsets at the Breakwater. I missed a million new friends and acquaintances. I missed walking or riding my bike as my primary form of transportation. I missed the crazy “who cares!” attitude of Provincetown. I missed that very close and real sense of me and who I was and the sense of purpose in what I was doing.
Somehow that got lost and it’s taken me a while to get it back.
So I made the winter work. Catering turned to managing the inaugural dinner service at the restaurant. Living in the basement brought me closer than ever to two dear friends. I got myself in pretty good physical shape. I spent some quality time with my family. I refocused on my summer plans and was redetermined to make the second summer work in my favor.
April came, as it always does, in its splendor and glory. There were a few clouds on the proverbial horizon, though. I think, in hindsight, I let the burden of having to have my house leased clouded my excitement. I still had not worked out a cooking space for my nascent catering business. There was last minute car trouble. Eventually, though, I leased the house to great tenants. The car got fixed. And I left Atlanta, on schedule, May 2. My trip back north was uneventful, with lovely stops again in Mercersberg and Princeton. I rolled into town on a cloudy, rainy May afternoon. Looking back, I think those clouds may have stayed in my head. And I think they affected my outlook and my perceptions for a good part of the summer. They were a harbinger of more challenges, more change, more creeping self-doubt and unwarranted self-pressure.
Part of the reason for resurrecting this blog is to give me a creative outlet this winter. Two things I’ve learned about myself in the last year are that, one, I need to be physically active and, two, there’s got to be a mental outlet that’s creative in a way that expresses what’s going on. And by that I mean what’s going on inside my head as well as outside my head. Far too often the chaos inside overtakes the reality outside and things get dark and gloomy….quickly. So bear with me while I pine and bitch and celebrate and, most likely, post far too many pictures of pretty sunrises and sunsets.
I’ve set a few goals for myself now the the season is officially, finally, 100% over. One is to get rid of the nice roll of fat that encircles my midsection. I don’t think I’ve gained much weight, but I’m certain that things have shifted after 6 months of no cardio and no gym visits.
Last week I discovered the National Seashore trails around Clapp’s and Duck Ponds. Clapp’s is the larger of the two and a wooded dune ridge runs along its northern edge. It provides some challenging hills and spectacular scenery. It’s unbelievably peaceful and I’m motivated to know it’s there.
Today I had another great ride on Gary (my bike, a Gary Fisher mountain bike). Can’t believe I forgot about how crucial exercise is to my mental well-being. I suspect the lack of it is part of what has been a challenging season for me.
Well, for no reason other than laziness and lotsofotherthingsgoingon, I managed to not write a single word on this site in an entire year’s time. Where that will get you is without your trusted domain name (auctioned off to some Czech firm), much rustier on the keyboard, and full of things to get down “on paper.” Glad you’ve joined me again….and glad to be back.