Last year, or maybe the year before, I rode my bike to the center of town on an early fall evening. I finished my errands and I readied my headlight and rear flasher (always prepared) for the mile ride home. I was shocked at the darkness as I left the three streetlights in town behind. My light- new, halogen, bright-seeming in my living room- barely lit the bumpy road in front of me. These country two-lane roads have a soft shoulder, by which they mean drainage ditch. Cars zoomed by. It was a sort of panicky mile.
My commute is a 15-mile drive on back roads to a pottery studio in another state. Five days a week, twice a day, going on three years, but sometimes on the drive I think I am lost. Sometimes the scenery looks utterly unfamiliar. I wonder if I took a wrong turn somewhere or I wonder if I’m coming down with some kind of early-onset dementia. Then I see a familiar tree or mailbox and everything is fine again, by which I mean that reality aligns itself with my expectations.
Once a week I drive almost an hour to teach a yoga class. Lately, on my way home, I’ve been stopping for soft-serve ice cream at the place where I had my first real job. I get a medium chocolate with jimmies. The feel of the jimmies and ice cream on my tongue when I take those first twenty or something licks is heart-achingly comforting, yet always feels new and revelatory. After the jimmies are gone it’s just another ridiculously delicious ice cream cone. Stopping for ice cream is not a wise business decision (I’m literally eating my profits), nor is using two gallons of gas to get to and from a class that rarely has more than five people in it. I don’t teach yoga for the money.
I do not get excited about driving. Three years ago I would’ve told you I hate driving. I see this change as a great improvement.
I just got a weird part-time job for a farmer who lives around the corner from my house, close enough to ride my bike. The farmer is very business-savvy and quite successful and well-established. He wants to start a proprietary line of lacto-fermented products and I am his test kitchen assistant. He and I get along well so far. We’re both quiet and excited about sauerkraut. I’ll let you know how it turns out.