Yeah, that’s how these past few days felt. Just grinding along. Crossing off the days one by one. I have settled into a sort of routine now. Up at 6:35 during the week. Shul by 6:45, Kaddish, and home by 7:15. Some days I am able to stay awake, check email, write for a while. Make a cup of tea, enjoy the quiet solitude of the house while Terry sleeps. Some days, I can only shed my clothes like a snake his skin, and head back into bed for a few more hours with Morpheus. I often have strange dreams during this second sleep. Usually no more than a fragment remains when I awake.
I fill my days with mundane tasks. Answering mail, grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions at CVS, just taking care of daily business. More writing if I am able, lunch, dinner, a cocktail and back to bed. The days I sleep late go by more quickly, I can get back into bed sooner. Our goal, my goal is to make it through each day. Not too lofty, I admit. I’m not curing cancer or feeding the hungry millions, but now, that is what I am capable of. When I can get through a day without dissolving, that seems like progress of a sort. It doesn’t happen very often, but it is becoming more frequent. Sometimes, I have an ‘event’ to anchor the day. An appointment, a meeting, something I can put in my calendar. I find myself anticipating this on those days, and when it is past, I look around and wonder, “What’s next”?
On Wednesdays I mentor at a local organization that provides photography classes for “low-income” kids. I am working with 15-18 year olds. For them, I am able to give back a bit of my accumulated expertise in image making; for me, it is something to do a couple of hours once a week. I can see the promise in these kids, some are more engaged then others, but they are all here, doing the work, taking photographs, learning about the world, and hopefully, a bit about themselves. Jake was an accomplished photographer, and in some way, I feel closer to him, feel his presence, when I help others learn about an art that he loved, was passionate about, and was so damn good at. As if I am passing on a tiny bit of Jake to these kids. They have no idea; it is my little secret.
Tomorrow, we are going back to Ojai for another few days of solitude. I will take my cameras, my journal and of course, my trusty MacBook. I will try to make some worthy images, write some worthy words. Find some solace in the quiet, look for Jake’s spirit in the hummingbirds, the sunrises, and the stars. He is in all those places and more. He is with me wherever I go.
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