A series of overcast days has reminded me how important the weather is, how much I value the sun; how deeply I loathe the winter, the accompanying cold and rain. With the decline, I’ve felt my mood plummet, matching the shift point for point. I cast my mind back over the past few months: the light, the heat – and forgive the intensity of it; even the nights when I couldn’t sleep, the mornings when the closeness of it was oppressive, hard to bear. Better that than this. Better that than me sat here shivering, struggling to warm up, cold in August) of all things.
Claustrophobia descends, settling around my body like a dense cloud: a fog I cannot see through. Hiding in my room, I seek the comfort of literature, curling my mind into the words as I curl my body into a blanket. I sip ginger and camomile tea against a backdrop of white: walls that are still, even after over a year of living here inhabiting this space, waiting to be decorated; the reluctance to put down roots, to claim my territory, to settle – here, anywhere – is evident.
I question my resistance, the reason for it, attempting to list the benefits. Footloose and fancy-free seem to have become my allies. Little and nothing my mantra. It’s all a bit too zen and a lot too modern. I’ve never been minimalistic. In England, my home was filled with personal effects; the space was a reflection of me. Fabric birds hung from painted ceilings. Paper butterflies clung to knitted plants. China ornaments talked to tin toys. Picture frames reclined in alcoves and rested on shelves. Books lined walls, creating temporary tables on polished floors. Paintings, mostly by me, although some by my friends, hung everywhere. I belonged there: it was my nest. Here, it’s more like someone else’s space, my being here borrowing.
I decide that I need to make more of an effort and that I need to work harder on finding my happiness within. This becomes increasingly important as August disappears, each day passing bringing me closer to autumn and the start of everything closing and emptying, shutting down. The tourists will leave, the hotels will close, towns will turn into shells. Unlike other places: there is only life here for half of the year. I dislike that, the isolation that prevails. It is hard enough to navigate my own rocky terain, without also having to deal with the external. I wonder if there is anywhere in the world that suits me; if there is such a thing as an everyday sunshine place? No longer convinced; I still choose to believe. For to give up hope, to abandon the dream, is tantamount to giving up and abandoning everything: my writing, my art, my desire to be something more, my pursuit of the kind of happiness that resides inside myself.
Tired of thinking, I let my eyes close and surrender myself to sleep.
by Rebecca L. Atherton
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