Cleanse

The sun is out and I can barely stay inside.

Let’s go on a hike. Or a run. Or a walk. And a drive. Maybe just sit on porch and take in the breeze through the trees as the neighbor’s cat rubs up against my legs and hisses at my own cats indoors.

If I’m inside, every shade is up, every window opened. If I forget to close them, I wake up with the sun, regardless as to what time I got to sleep, as if my own circadian rhythm is going, “How dare you stay asleep when the world around you has awoke?”

The power of the sunlight drifts into the night, and the warm air and a bonfire are plenty substitute for a noonday sun. I still feel the energy, as if skin pinkened by the flames is the same as skin warming under the sun.

I try my best to mitigate how the winter’s weather affects me, but beautiful days remind me that it works in the opposite direction, too. I don’t realize how much energy I can have until the literal fog is lifted. The fog and the rain and the mist and the cold, dreary air.

On a Saturday that I’m wracked with the flu, the rainy spring gives way to a perfect day, and I’m so convinced the weather is enough to energize me that I go for a drive with the windows down. It wipes me out so terribly that I spend the rest of the day in bed, windows up, the gentle spring breeze passing over my fevered skin.

A Saturday later, and I’m driving back from a walk around the city, deliberately picking uptempo songs and tapping out the beat as I drive. It’s one of the kinder heirlooms from my father, the staccato drum solo against a steering wheel, an ability to get lost in the song while you’re driving. I’m not fully recovered but now the sunshine can supplement what my immune system hasn’t been able to provide.

And on a Monday holiday, I’m by a lakeside dock with my feet in the water. I didn’t want to fall asleep the night before and I didn’t want to stay asleep once the morning came. It’s me and the sun and the loons calling in the distance and they’ll be my only companions for a while. The house is asleep but the world is awake, and three hours of fitful rest feels like nothing against the ripples I make in the water.

It’s spring. It’s finally spring. And already toeing into summer. And I’m okay with that. Summer is my season. Summer is when I return to the mountains. Summer is when I travel. Summer is when something in my soul cracks open and the crisp lines of winter give way to the saturated colors of summer.

It’s going to be a lighter summer than it has been in a while. I know it. I’m making sure of it. I don’t think it’s coincidence that Marie Kondo’s show and “Thank U, Next,” came out and became such hits at the beginning of the year. This has been a year about clearing things out, removing what doesn’t bring you joy, creating space for the things that do. Of saying, “thank you, but next,” and letting go.

My pantry and closet have been cleared out. Maybe not in the Marie Kondo way, but it still got the job done. Now food spoils less often. I’m surprised with what I actually have available in my wardrobe.

Sometimes you don’t clear out just to make space for the new. You clear out to be reminded of what good things you already have, things that might’ve gotten lost under the clutter.

I have plans for this summer, as I always do. The sun energizes me. I’m solar powered like that. I’m finishing the 48 4,000-footer list. I’m releasing another collection of poetry. I’m going to keep trying to find representation for my two manuscripts — ones that are just waiting in the wings, brought out for dress rehearsals as I edit them yet another time. Im going to keep submitting my work even when it feels like I’m sending them into the void, a black emptiness that feels like a new moon on a cloudless night.

I have so many things I want to do. So many things I want to see flourish. And, by the same token, so many things I’m glad to let go of, glad to put behind me. Glad to admit they don’t bring me joy and release them. Anger, regret, resentment. The unkind and unwelcome heirlooms that might’ve made life a little difficult, now and then. The past. Anger and resentment over it. The vicious cycle it creates.

Letting them go. Making space. Both for what the future will bring, and for the appreciation of the present moment. There are too many things that bring joy in my life now to grant the clutter any more space or consideration.

In some ways, clearing it out all has been the southern swell that pushes the clouds out to sea and send a warm breeze into the night.

How dare I stay asleep, when the world around me is starting to wake up.

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