January, Virginia and Spontaneity

January brings a surprise: I like it. After the rush of the holidays, the vacuum of space is a new, and, despite the regularity, unexpected gift. Time to invite friends by for brownies, without planning the occurrence months ahead. Time to go on walks without our phones. To notice the baguette bag floating down the sidewalk, the new paint coating half the manhole cover, the oddities that flash by and then are forgotten. Today: a man brushing his teeth walking down Houston Street.


And in the most fun of times, spontaneous trips. We booked a trip to see my brother and his family, and our dear friends from St. Andrews this weekend, and had a weekend full of very not-tightly-planned fun. (Above, the surprise of finding a walk-in Edward Hopper exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.)

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I long for the feeling of freedom, of not over-planning, of the space to find thoughts myself, to continue into the whole year. How do we do this? I heard a thinker say today that the great mystery of life is to live fully knowing we cannot live as fully as we want each moment.

The only way I know is to deliberately say no more often, and then, be in that space. And religiously, watch the world in the space.

This weekend, that meant card games and yelling "travel!" at team opposing my nephew's basketball game.


and smelling, and noting, woodsmoke in the blue winter hills of Virginia. 


 It meant googling 'park' near where we were driving, and discovering a very old mine, in the middle of a wooded hike.


Life in New York has felt like a crowd of things recently: many people on our street, many words, many sensory perceptions, many winds, many grocery deliveries. A great crowd of things. From here, tonight, I see only a candle lamp in our window, burning off the window steam in a round, clear orb. Out there: a thousand million other lights. In here: this single one.