Update from September 20, 2020

Summer left the party suddenly. Walmart started decorating with cute scarecrows, leaves in every color except green and straw bundles. Halloween candy now lines the seasonal aisle, and they shut down the AC at work two days before turning on the heat. On the deck, the red geraniums have wilted, but one small cluster of buds valiantly fights to bloom.

Looking back, I feel like I’ve missed summer entirely. Yet I know I did everything possible to enjoy it. That’s what I get for working nights and long hours.

At least now I can start having a life again. For the first time in four months, we have almost full staff at both jobs. While I know not everyone likes small towns, if you need employment, rural healthcare needs people…desperately.

With fall settling in, the urge to migrate hits hard. For years the onset of cold weather heralded the end of a seasonal job and a move back to Montana. After a career move which allowed me to live in the same town year-round, I still took fall trips, and usually ended up moving residences in September. Now, with Covid limiting travel options, I’m stuck at home with a week off work on my hands.

Well…maybe I’m not entirely stuck, but after spending so much time away from home this summer, and the frustration and anxiety associated with the societal shifts occurring because of this pandemic, staying home offers much less stress. 

About a month ago, Buck and I went down to the big city for an overnight stay. He’s been lucky enough to avoid most of the changes due to Covid, since I do the grocery shopping. Needless to say, it was a culture shock for him to deal with not just the mask but also the new rules and restrictions linked to going anywhere. We both suffered bouts of frustration and ended up leaving several stores and bypassed others entirely. By four on Saturday, we were both done with “civilization” and burned up the road headed home in true Bandit Darvil style. 

Before Covid, going to Minot was a big deal, part treat and part threat. Dealing with people, especially in large crowds rates at the bottom of both our lists. We live in the country where our nearest neighbor resides a mile away. The rules here are simple, straight-forward and no one snoops through our back yard waiting to judge us or tattle what color underwear we hang on the line. We like it that way, and the inconsistent rules regarding Covid make sojourns into civilization downright forbidding. I don’t know how people in cities stand this, but then again, their threshold was higher from the beginning. Then again, a lot of you decided to move to the suburbs and further when your jobs stopped utilizing offices. I get that. Just don’t crowd those of us already here.

That being said, in the name of sanity, I will just stay home. There’s plenty to do anyway with winter coming. The seasonal hatch of spiders left the house filled with cobwebs and the walls need washing, one of the downsides to burning wood for heat. Additionally, a winter’s worth of wood needs loading and stacking in the basement, hopefully before the first big snowstorm of the year which hit in mid-October last year with 16 inches of snow. 

And I want to purge my closet, something I should’ve done before I moved three years ago, but I lacked the energy at the time. There is something fulfilling about the process of sorting things, rearranging them, tossing some things and giving others away to a second-hand store. 

I’m not a minimalist, not by a long-shot. Hence the reason I need to thin things out. The irony lies in the fact that during my 20s, I tended to accumulate more and more stuff. Since gradually settling down, I’ve started thinning things out. Maybe it’s a hoarding thing. In my 20s, I moved a lot, switched jobs, never knew when I’d be without work for a long period of time. So I hung on to things that I thought I’d need and not have the cash to buy replacements for. It took ten years for me to learn that I’d make due without some things and that others can always be replaced.

Maybe too it’s the trips down memory lane, recalling the stories associated with different things. Or maybe it’s the act of letting go of some things and the memories associated with them. Whatever it is, it’s something I haven’t done in a while and would enjoy doing more than washing walls and definitely more than working.

The NaNoWriMo Facebook page and emails keep reminding me that November is coming up, and I have no idea what story to work on. Unfortunately, the last several years have fallen victim to work and mental exhaustion, and I fear that this year will too. Somewhere between this fear and burnout, part of me doesn’t see the point in vesting much of myself into the process. Several posts on other writing groups ask for story ideas, essentially using the hive mind to create a novel plot for them. Yes, I think this is cheating, but I’ve been so dry of new ideas lately that I confess an envy of these people for their brass. I’ve tried reading fiction in an attempt to get new ideas, but my attention span is no longer what it was even five years ago. Every third paragraph my mind wanders or something interrupts me, making it nearly impossible to get into a story. Audiobooks offer some promise, but that usually leads to me doing other things while listening and not really paying attention anyway. I guess I’ll keep trying through. I have to, because I’ve run out of ideas.

So that is where I’m at and what I plan to do in the next couple of weeks. In prep for NaNo, I’ll try to get into the habit of daily writing again. I need to anyway for my sanity. I also want to get back to posting to this blog page regularly again. You’ll definitely find out if I’m successful. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for how everything plays out!

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