Earlier this week, a good friend referred to me as The Best Girl Ever in the History of Ever. When was the last time someone spontaneously called you something like that? Did you stop and recognize how fantastic that kind of remark is? I grinned and am still grinning just to think of it.
This time last weekend, I was crouched on a sandy shore, playing with a river lake. This time two weeks ago, I was prowling the edge of a cornfield. I'd say it looks as though I'm scouting edges these days.
As of course I am, given that nearly every week this summer has brought another departure, another arrival, another trade-in, another trade-up. In just over a month (deo volante), I'll have packed my bags, schlepped them through the bomb-checking machines, and made my way over an ocean in the dark. Between now and then, I'm gathering steam for the change.
Tonight that has meant moving large files from one external hard drive to another (and finally figuring out how to make my power-sharing cable do its job with one of my drives), a process of gathering like things together, setting them to copy, and then puttering around with some other task that has long been languishing--like corresponding with people who have sent me e-mails this summer, and returning overdue library books.
The officehouse is quiet and changeful these days; my poet colleagues have moved out of their spaces, and their nameplates came down this week. Soon my nameplate will come down and be replaced by that of the colleague who will occupy this space within weeks. Everything is teetering on the edge of last departures and first arrivals: with special dispensation, students can begin moving into their dorm rooms on Wednesday, and first requests for coffee dates have started to appear in my e-mail. Colleagues who have been away for the summer, or for longer, are (I'm guessing) beginning their treks homeward, or have returned but not yet reappeared here.
My shorts and trousers begin to ride lower, loosen out; it would seem that last weekend's canoeing and cycling (on miniature, folding bicycles, up and around the campground, mostly to the bathrooms but also to the lake's shore for photographs, for skipping stones, for wishing that lake were my own, sorely missed one) have jumpstarted my interest in actually using my body for something. This week found me careening all over Gambier on the bicycle I, for no apparent reason, neglected to the point of rustiness while I lived in the old house. Now it is my best way of getting from the dog's house to my apartment to the post office to the officehouse. My helmet is so old that the pads are disintegrating, sometimes right into my hair. I want so badly to go without it, and yet I remember the feeling of my headlong flight over a pair of curved handlebars almost twenty years ago, and I know how damned lucky I am to have come back up off the gravel where I'd fallen and to have sustained only tiny, scraping injuries. And so I strap on my old helmet before I head off over the lawn and down the street. Tomorrow, perhaps I will visit the prairie, or search for barns I have not yet seen, on the bicycle.
At this very moment, a languorous dog is lying somewhere in his living room, wondering whether I'm ever going to come home. He is, perhaps, hoping that we will take a walk as long as last night's, when neither of us seemed ready to turn back for home and thus ended up all the way down at the officehouse. It's easier to go for miles when the sun has slipped beyond the trees.
Tonight, my tiny fantasy is about markers. I ran out of cash for the coffee- and olive-colored ones at the bookstore tonight, what with buying the Sunday Times. But now it turns out that I can get twenty, and all in their handy case. (Handy cases, of all kinds, form my other tiny fantasy this weekend, as I start planning my return to the Container Store.) I already have the ten-pack; finding out that there's a twenty-pack made me coo aloud at the computer. It is a tiny fantasy; it's not the one around which I've built my day. But that doesn't make it nothing, not in the History of Ever.