All summer long, and into the fall, I carried my laptop with me inside my worn pink and blue Helly Hansen backpack. The backpack, with my laptop nuzzled safely in an inside sleeve, was tucked under the seat in front of me on the plane to Boston from Grenada where we left Exodus for the summer. I like to write on planes, so I kept it close. But I never opened it.
The laptop sat contentedly in the guest room of my son and (new) daughter-in-law’s condo in Brookline, Massachusetts. I lugged it, with an assortment of chargers and cords, to the mountains of New Hampshire, and to multiple friends’ and relatives’ homes in and around New York and New England. My laptop was my constant companion (though a companion I enthusiastically locked in the trunk) throughout Scotland as Mike and I drank whiskey and hiked along the steep edges of the Quiraing trail. Oh, cool your jets, we did not drink whiskey and then hike along the edge of the mountain- the drinking was always after the hiking. And then we drove back to our hotel. The point I am trying to make is that every single day and night, that laptop was like one of my appendages.
For a couple of weeks, my laptop, in its cozy sleeve, lived under my mother-in–law’s kitchen table. It heard every discussion, but it didn’t whine or complain. It got no attention, and occasionally it would even get kicked, but it never grumbled. You might think that every so often I forgot about it, but I did not. It didn’t need to make its presence known. Its mere existence in my world was a constant reminder to me that I was slacking off.
There were so many feelings and experiences I could have (and should have) written about this summer, but out of laziness, or inertia, or whatever, I simply couldn’t bring myself to open up my laptop and start writing. I could have written about my son’s perfect wedding to the woman of his dreams, about my discontent and anxiety about not having a home base for three months, about the sadness about yet another family member, my baby brother, dealing with a devastating cancer. These precious moments, or at least many of them, have passed, the emotions no longer so immediate and raw.
And the longer I waited to take my laptop out and write something…anything…the harder it became.
So I guess you could say I took the summer off, or had a summer mental health break, or something like that. Which is kind of funny, considering that I live on and am about to return to our sailboat, which is currently in the Caribbean, and one might argue that my current life is actually one gigantic mental health break.
And I don’t know what made me pull my laptop out of hibernation today, just as the bears are gearing up for a long winter up here in New Hampshire. I just know that I did it. Perhaps it is the thought that in one week I’ll be back on the boat, back in the world of “should be”s , back in the world of nature, warmth, beauty, laughter, frustration, and adventure, with a little bit of terror thrown in for good measure.
So stay tuned, and if you were one of the few who actually noticed that I have not been writing all summer, thanks for your patience.