Two pairs of socks, in the mornings; a singlet top, merino jersey, fuzzy-collar zip-up sweater and a coat. Scarf and a very cute hat that always gets me compliments, and sometimes the orange chenille gloves I think I got at the Greenlake PCC nine billion years ago. Tights and boots. Three duvets on the bed and wind and rain on the way to the bus stop, both ways, every day.
I make my way through the winter slowly, cautiously. Stumping up the four flights of steps home with my grocery bags full of root vegetables, shivering a little until I can get the fire well and truly going, trying to limit myself to only four cups of tea a day. Measuring out my steps around the city, from one familiar place to the next and the next. I don’t seem to want much new or novel, lately, I don’t want any surprises. I only want to build up my savings and cook the same broccoli pasta every week. I want to check out old loves from the library or listen to them on my iPod. I want to spend a lot of time sitting and thinking.
The transition time is over, now, I guess, but I am still a little tired. Here I am, smack in the middle of it, in the middle of New Zealand in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, almost in the middle of my life and part of me keeps reminding myself during all the time I spend sitting and thinking and drinking cups of tea, milk with one sugar, please, that this is it, this is my life, there isn’t any more waiting to be done. This is what I was waiting for, and here it is, and here I am.
Sometimes I spend a little time wondering what the rest of this year, which I have dedicated to stability and to sober reflection, will bring, but not as much as you’d think. It’s as opaque as its ever been and there doesn’t seem to be much use worrying about it, as long as I keep this slightly precarious balance I’ve spent quite a bit of time and effort negotiating. I don’t want anything to upset this chilly wool-swathed equilibrium I have found. I just want to fill my hot water bottles every night, drink my hot chocolate, and settle in, settle down, pull the year’s blanket up over my shoulders and around my ears to stay as warm as I can.