Thursday, January 02, 2014


On this day (a)

Ocean is ten years old today! Yeah, that old! My first post went up when I was fifty, when my kids were just barely voting age, when I still lived in a house in the suburbs, when blogging was young and the Internet had that novel, mystical feel to it that made launching a blog somewhat of an adventure. But I knew this then: I wanted to write. With care. Every day. And so Ocean was born.

Oh, the lessons learned! The skepticism, the doubts, the warnings, but too, on the other side -- the friendships that were born of it! And the sweet sweet patience that came from family and friends! How can I not mention, for example, Ed's incredible patience as I bother him with the camera every morning and delay our travels and adventures as I pause to post?  How can I ever thank you all for indulging this terribly bothersome commitment that I have made?

Ten years of daily posting. It was so much harder when I started! Searching for an Internet connection in all corners of the world - Japan, Poland, Sicily, Ghana -- it was nearly impossible, yet it was never really impossible. I missed maybe a day or two each year. Not more than that.

I deserve no praise for persistence. We all excel at something. Me, I excel at forging ahead stubbornly when perhaps it may have been wise to give it up long ago. After all, why does it matter? To post late at night through half closed eyes, to write, to record something...  why must it happen every day?

Why? So many people ask (or want to ask) -- why?

I've said it before: writing about small things is, to me, the best way to describe life. You, who read Ocean, you are like me in this: you're drawn to the idea that the story line isn't necessarily in newspaper worthy events. It's in the way we wake up and sit down to breakfast and proceed to move through the day. And these small things are what make for a good day for us, whether we live in Marseille or Madison.

So, thank you. For reading, for commenting, for coming back, for giving at least a nod to this idea that ordinary conversations and encounters are important.

Ocean is ten. I've moved, my daughters have moved, they've launched careers, I've retired.  My progression is everyone's progression. It's just that I am driven to write. And so you have these daily posts.

Daily posts. Some people walk their dog, I post. Yes, it is as ordinary as that.

On this day (b)

Wake up! I've got so much that I want to do today!

Breakfast is, of course, the starting point. We linger over it, though in my mind, never long enough.

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Then I sit down to a steady stream of Book Project writing, interrupted only once with a brief bout of stretching and moving through a program of awkward (but who would notice?!) ballet/yoga poses.

But by afternoon I know that I have to attack the dreaded project of the year: the emptying of my Law School office.

Why dreaded? Because I really would like to cart only one box of memorabilia home and put a match to nearly everything else, but I'm afraid that's an overzealous and potentially regrettable move.

And so I give myself eight hours to sort and stack and pack and carry out, and today I use two of those hours, bringing home a bankers box of the most precious stuff: photos, my cup for tea, and a sketch of the house where Chopin once lived.

And I throw away about a third of my files. AIDS Legal Resources Project? Trash! Department of Education grant? Trash! Folder upon folder of a work history and I have to wonder -- why had I kept it all this long? Did I think someone would ask me one day -- prove to us that line on your resume!? Someday, folders will seem quaintly old fashioned. Storage will be what we save on computers rather than in metal file cabinets. Someday. My work wasn't of that day. My work is on notepads and the work of others is typed and printed and it's all unfortunately stashed in tightly packed cabinets.

On the upside, I get one of the final grand moments before my office window, looking out on Bascom Mall.

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 Okay. Enough for today. I can come back to this project next week.

By the time I come back to the farmette, the chill on the air is terrific. The skies are clearing, the wind is sharp.

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I walk the land to the back of the barn, but not for long. I'm not prepared for the plummeting temperatures. Still, even in this most challenging season, I find the landscape here to be so beautiful! There is a silence all around us. Looking at the solitary tracks of deer, I am reminded how little movement there is at the farmette during winter.

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In the evening, I cook up a pot of chili. I note that we've used half of our summer tomatoes already. Ed tells me the chili flavors are ever changing, as I reach for different varieties that we store in the big freezer in the basement.

Isis comes down, licks a can of sardines dry and marches right back up to the quilt-covered bed. For him, it's just another day of food and sleep. Ed works on his design project, I settle in to write this post.