So…here’s an understanding I never expected.

Granted, it’s coming at the end of a very full day, an hour in which I’m inclined to harsh self-assessment; a moment in which I’m winding down on a vastly improved chapter that still has a way to go to be right, improvements I haven’t quite qualified yet. But here’s the thing….

I realize that I thrive on contrast. Being torn between two places sharpens my wits. Wanting one thing and living another makes the experiencing of both more acute.

That need works itself out quite nicely when there’s a job involved. The demands of the job make the writing hours more valuable. The writing that’s made to fit into the off-hours becomes more valuable. I know that I’ll have the enforced step away from it when the workweek starts again. A big loop.

Similarly, the chaos of moving and job-searching makes the writing time more valuable. But when I’m settled, here—what then?

I love it here, make no mistake. I am not afraid of the silences or of sounds made by no one but me. But—and I must admit this—the days here can be markedly similar.

I am 14-plus miles from the nearest town of any size. The things that one can do in town are limited…imagine a place where panko breadcrumbs and manchego cheese are alien life-forms. Where rock music stopped in the 80s. Where I couldn’t find raw duck breast to save my life. The forced-focus of contrast is absent. The observances that make up the new paradigm of contrasts are smaller; subtler.

It’s a wakeup call.

I’ll feel different in the morning. Possibilities are illuminated in daylight. As in birding, every day holds the chance of the unexpected, the good bird. Every walk holds the chance of the company of mink and deer, as this morning. Every look at the river might have a bald eagle in it. Dinners wait to be created. Books wait to be read. Songs wait for an extra voice.

And the page, the characters, the created world? That’s always different, if I let it be. The paralysis of “what next?” is something to be avoided. Like walking in a thunderstorm: one knows better.

It’s up to me to find the living in living. And that is the best revelation of all.

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