"I expect the rest of me to catch up sometime over the next fitful week."

Traveling disrupts routines. Returning does, too. The disruption can feel exhilarating, liberating. Returning can feel more disorienting than reassuring. The old routines don't seem queued up for me to simply step into them and I cannot catch that once preconscious rhythm. I sit and stare at the place I so recently simply stared through, so common and so ordinary were my daily patterns of movement here. I almost remember where everything goes, but what starts out as an enthusiastic unpacking soon slows into ever tightening indecisive circles. I finally surrender to the feeling and adjourn to bed before supper, falling into a deep sleep while shivering under the covers with my clothes still on.

I'd neglected to turn on the furnace after that true Spring day before we left and yes, it had snowed four days during our absence.
This small oversight had threatened The Muse's extensive African Violet collection, though they survived on radiant heat, I guess, showered in through unshuttered windows. The place felt more than simply vacant when we reentered, but abandoned, unwanted, hostile to our return. I hung out in the garage after hauling everything in, door wide open to the drizzle outside, a chill settling deep within me. I sent out premature notice of our return, uncertain which time zone I stood in then. I watched the opposite hillside with questioning wonder, not quite recognizing this location we'd lately come to finally acknowledge as home.

Routines simplify living. No need to over-think much if a reflexive response remains queued up for almost every possible prompt. Mindfulness muffled and apparently over-rated, efficiency trumps and rules with an iron fist imbedded in an apparently velvet glove. I surrender myself with hardly a whimper and I proceed to execute an existence externally indistinguishable from a well-lived one. The hunter-gatherer inside me does more hunkering and feathering than finding soul sustenance. I take to nibbling around edges which were once the more prominent parts of my life. I hardly miss the omissions until I travel, finding far away the space which routines had left resembling moth holes in the fabric of my life.

I return renewed and revitalized to find that the case within which I'd held my life before leaving no longer holds the instrument. I wrote a song while I was gone and finished some long-unfinished copyediting work, and I look for the spaces where I might continue this reassuring streak in what we've come to know as home and I shrink a bit when recognizing that I do not see those spaces here. I see a shell, perhaps a shell aching for me to fill it with different energy, maybe even fresh routines. The old patterns pull, encouraging the sort of sleepwalking long considered appropriate behavior. I sleep instead, refusing to submit without at least a head-clearing nap. I'm home but not yet home. I expect the rest of me to catch up sometime over the next fitful week.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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