Monday, November 05, 2012

Taking the moment, mastering time

by Zinta Aistars

Rolling out of bed with a shiver, I check my schedule on my phone calendar on my way downstairs to the kitchen. I have a couple of hours. But the day is exceedingly full, including a trip south into Kalamazoo, to collect a couple of new assignments at the college, later a trip north to the 'burb of Wyoming, to attend a city council meeting. Between, I have to finish an article, deadline tomorrow noon, and schedule three interviews and photo shoots for this week's news stories in Advance, a local paper for which I am now, among my many other gigs, a news reporter. And I have to prepare for a business trip cross-state end of this week.

Was life supposed to get any less busy as a freelancer? Quite the opposite. It's Monday morning, however, and as humming as this schedule is, I am feeling the blessing. I am in the beginning of my fourth month as creative director, writer/editor for my own business, Z Word, LLC, and I am working at it seven days a week, often late into the night, and boy howdy, am I enjoying it! It's Monday, and I love my job.

That's everything. Almost. The rest, I have to work to preserve in my life. I am also in my eighth month of living on this 10-acre old farm in southwest Michigan, and I have now experienced all four seasons. I don't want to miss any of that. With my calendar full like this, I sometimes come up for air and realize I haven't ventured outside yet. I am leaning over my keyboard, cranking out sometimes five articles per day, old chow pup curled up at my feet (how he loves that I now work from home!), and I will suddenly remember that I have to look UP, I have to look OUT, I have to stretch my bones and work some muscle other than the one inside my skull.

There's a deep frost out there this Monday morning. I laugh, yes, out loud, when I realize how I look to no one's eyes as I head out back, chow pup beside me again, camera in hand, taking in the beauty of this transitional season. I am in my blue bath robe and brown fuzzy socks and blue woolen scarf and brown coat and clogs. I must be a sight.

But that is part of my job of living here, one of the greater parts. I live as I live, I move as I move, I dress as I must, swiping my yet uncombed white hair from my sleepy eyes. It is early morning, and I don't have to think about how I present myself to the public eye. That will come later, when I head into town. Here, I am the queen of my own domain. No offices, no cubicles, no office politics, no balderdash, no masks to wear.

Priceless, truly. I can't imagine ever going back to the corporate life. To an office or, worse, a cube, on display but closed off from the real world. The real one ... the one I see around me now. My clogs crunching frosted grass and white-rimmed fallen leaves. The tree branches bare and fingering the blue-white sky. The tall weeds in the back field turned to crystal. This may not have the Technicolor glory of early fall, or the deep white shimmering snow of winter, or the bright fresh green of spring, or the leafiness of summer, but it is nonetheless a beautiful time of nature turning its clock.

And I'm not driving down the interstate on a Monday morning commute, missing it.

The pond has a fine, thin sheen of new ice along its edges. The swarms of red koi have sunk to the warmer depths of the spring-fed body of water, and the turtles, too, have dug deep in the cooling and thickening mud. I sense winter coming, my breath turning to white steam in the chill of this air, and my heart beats a little faster. I found Z Acres in deep winter. I fell in love with this place in white snow. I signed the papers on the dotted line, sitting inside this bright red and white kitchen, and then I walked out into the lavender evening just as a gentle snow began to fall.

This is the time for my energy to peak. The crisp air brings me new energy. I have learned so much in these passing seasons, about Z Acres, about me, about starting my own business and being ... free.

I am still on that learning curve, surely, about how to manage my time, organize all that I need to do, and some things have suffered in the process. My literary magazine, The Smoking Poet, is a month behind schedule, and that makes my heart ache. Must ... get ... that ... done. But the paying work comes first, I have to keep up with the bills, and the night hours are just so long. More aching, when I realize I haven't worked on my own creative writing in weeks. My hope to start my mornings that way has given at the push of work assignments.

I will keep learning. Learn how to manage my time better, what goes where, in what spot, and how to make it all come together. After all, the bounty fallen on my head is a great problem to have! I am grateful, oh I am grateful, and I remind myself daily to give thanks.

This year, 2012, has been my threshold year, brimming with blessing, and that is something I will never take for granted. I have felt the divine push and nudge, moving me along, sometimes at dizzying speed, but it has all come to good.

So I will keep working. I will keep finding moments between. I will keep walking my grounds, wrapped in bathrobe and scarf and coat, if I must, if it helps me steal a moment more to enjoy the beauty of this place. My little corner of heaven. I won't ever forget what got me here, and how, and that I couldn't have done it on my own steam. Someone's been watching out for me, and I nod my head in silent thank you.

I took leaps, and nets appeared. I have learned to trust in that. Take those leaps for the right reasons, and I will be caught. So I walk the perimeter of the pond, watching the ice forming, and I check on the five tiny pine trees I planted along the northeast border a couple days ago, and I stand a moment longer to watch the sun kiss the frosted landscape and make it glow.

I have to get to work now. Roll up my sleeves. Taking a moment to breathe, see, feel, acknowledge, however, is as needed as anything else I will accomplish today.

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