As the past few posts have described, my desire to spend time here in Devon has surprised and alarmed me. I haven’t felt that desire in a long time. Two and a half years ago, New York’s freneticism acted as the perfect opposing vacuum for my own internal turmoil. The crowds, the noise, the smells, the sky-blocking cement, stirred my sadly dozing heart.
I feel the same way here and for exactly opposite reasons. The sheep, the clover fields and the moss-covered stone walls resonate with the desire for reasoned quiet that pushed me from Brooklyn to New Jersey and finally out of the country altogether. This landscape, this pace, this weather, match the pace of my thoughts, my breath, and my Wellies.
But instead of enjoying that peace the past two days, I’ve felt anxious. Finding a vintage china vase perfect to hold pencils in my yellow-curtained bedroom, seeing a sign for a meditation class held in nearby Totnes, or wondering if I’ll really be able to learn to drive a manual, I kept automatically thinking, “Who cares? I’ll be leaving in a month anyway.”
Leaving Spain, I had regretted spending money on clothes I only used for a few weeks. I was unconsciously regretting other expenditures as well- love on a toddler I’ll never see again, friendship on adults I’ll never see again, digestive juices on food I hope to never see again. Faced with yet another new situation, I wanted to avoid waste. The china vase, the meditation classes, the time spent with the kids here, all represented wasted energy, love, time, money… they represented a mistake I didn’t want to make again.
Once I realized that was the source of my anxiety, I also knew that loving someone or involving yourself in a situation is never a mistake. Ever. Loving that toddler was not a mistake, trying that damn Spanish food was not a mistake, and buying clothes that allowed me to comfortably dance till 6am was not a mistake. It was living. So I bought the china vase to put my pencils in, I collected the brochures on meditation classes and yoga workshops in Totnes, and I will, no question, love these kids as much as I can, as well as anyone else who crosses my path. That’s the only way to avoid the worst mistake of all: not living.