Closed For Maintenance

Like I do most days, today I rode my bike to the gym. I don’t ride for exercise – I ride to get places. But the four miles of riding round trip do me no harm and help both the planet and our budget as gas continues to hover around $4 a gallon here.

It was a lovely day – the sort of beautiful spring day one gets in Central Mississippi that makes one temporarily forget the swamp-like August that will come. Early April is a lovely time here – the daffodils are still in bloom in places, the azaleas are a riotous mass of color and the wisteria runs along the fence rows, and red buckeyes and white dogwoods and spiderwort punctuate every thicket.

Today was a yoga day, and leaving after the 45-minute class, I heard a classmate – a woman in her early 70’s – say that she felt “noodley” and I thought that sounded about right: Supple, loose, and flexible. The tension had left my body and I felt wrung out like I had left all my frustrations on the mat.

And frustrations have been frequent of late. I’ve had tech problems galore over on the newsletter side of my writing business, costing me both weeks of time and hundreds of dollars, only to have it all dissolve in a vat of sunk costs that forced me to reconfigure and end up not far from where I started.

And after months and months of relative solitude, I have been thrust into the public eye again, with a steady stream of public meetings and actions and presentations. I feel like The Bride in that scene in Kill Bill when she wakes up after being in a coma and has lost the use of her legs to atrophy. My people muscles have atrophied, and while still there, they are not what they once were, and I leave most meetings exhausted.

And in multiple areas of my life, I am engaged in projects that are taking much longer than I anticipated, that are costing more than budgeted for, and that involve parts of my brain that are not best suited for that work.

My work has a lot of moving pieces, and pieces that should be moving and are not, and as I rode my bike to the gym this morning, my back was a mass of knots. I think I left them on the mat as well.

And as I rode home, passing under the fragrant wisteria and waving to my neighbor getting her mail and coasting down the hill like I am nine and carefree again and not 49 and full of responsibilities, I uttered a small prayer of thanks for the rejuvenation I can find in movement and in nature, for the clear skies and the beautiful flowers, and even the schedule flexibility that allows me to enjoy it all.

I’m taking a few days off from both social media and the blog. I’ll be back on both on Tuesday the 12th (both newsletters will publish as planned).

I need a little time away for both sanity and perspective. I’ve been publishing each weekday for more than five months now, and while I derive a lot of pleasure and benefit from the daily practice of releasing more than 700 words into the wild each day and have a very loyal readership, the reality is that readership isn’t really growing. It seems I like to write the sort of things people like but do not share, and rarely tell their friends about. Is this the best use of my time? Would I be better served to write one story a week, but make it amazing? Do I have the patience for that? Are there other options?

I just don’t know. But right now I’m too busy publishing every day to think about it. As a buddy once said, when you’re up to your ass in alligators, it’s easy to forget your job was to drain the swamp.

I don’t know what I’m going to do when I get back. But I don’t have to know – at least, not right now. I just know that I will be back, in some way, next Tuesday, and I hope you will be here when I come back. I appreciate you, and your readership, and I hope you have an amazing weekend.

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