I complain a lot about night meetings; about starting work at 7 a.m., going home, then working again long past dark. And it’s exhausting and frustrating and a necessary evil in my world of journalism.
But know what I do like?
Long, sunny afternoons at home.
Tuesday, ahead already on hours from last week’s meetings, I stayed home. I tried to sweep while Vesper and Alaska chased the broom through the dust pile; fought off carpenter bees and bumble bees and hornets all fascinated by clean white T-shirts drying on the line; soaked up sunshine in the back yard while ants and grass tickled my calves and sweat formed on my skin.
Sunshine and sweat! Did you know how beautiful that can be? After months and months of white snow and gray skies and cold, biting winds, when the only color was the brown of dead branches – the green of the grass and the blue skies and the heat pouring through me, thawing the cold right out of me, is beautiful beyond words.
The days that I work split shifts, I head home around lunch, walking home in the sunshine that’s just warmed the morning chill out of the air. Other days, like Tuesday, when hours add up, I stay home until that meeting’s scheduled. It’s a chance to run in the morning coolness; to catch up on housework I never feel like doing after work; to play with ferrets who follow me from one corner of the house to the other, always underfoot. Vesper smells his peanut-butter snack and all pound-and-half of her is straining toward it, nose quivering, twitching. We give her a sliver of apple and she comes back for more.
It’s a chance to run errands when it’s not crowded; or to sip sun tea in the shade of a new friend’s porch; or to lay in the sunshine and read.
And then it’s hard to find those heels and work clothes again and head out to some borough or school board’s conference room for a meeting, just as the sun is setting and neighbors sit out on their porches and I want so much to be sitting on mine.
They’re scheduling headaches and often wearying and I’d just as soon skip them. But it’s only fair to mention the other side effect: there’s nothing quite like afternoon sunshine, and thanks to those meetings, I get to enjoy it.