This week, Seattle was all abuzz because a man climbed into an 80-foot tall Sequoia on a median on Steward and 3rd, and refused to come down for a full 24 hours. Then, after they took to him jail, he refused to leave his cell to go to his court date. Clearly the man has some mental health challenges, and I wish him the best in getting the help that he needs. However, I admit that a part of me felt a deep affinity for his multiple refusals. Amidst a flurry of bribes involving everything from beer to food to even a kiss from a pretty lady, he simply refused to come down from that tree until he was good and ready. He set the terms, and stuck with them. I would like to refuse in a similar way. I would like to climb up into a big, ancient tree, find a comfy spot, and not come down until I damn well felt like it. I imagine I would want to sit in that tree for very a long time. Days, perhaps even a week. People could hold up offerings: Gum and fountain pens, snow globes, homemade jellies, thick novels about 19th-century London, ring pops, microbrews, fuzzy water, crossword puzzle books, treasure maps and peacock feathers. I would refuse it all. I would just sit, and rest, and listen to the wind, and feel the tree’s essential tree-ness, and close my eyes and be at peace. And then, when I was ready to re-join humanity again, I would unceremoniously climb back down, perhaps eat a peach, and continue on with my life. But not before I was good and ready.
It’s been a full week with the Fitbit experiment, and myself and the Fitbit have established a working, if uneasy, relationship. I’m probably going to stick with it, if nothing else because I enjoy being smugly astonished at the number of miles I actually walk each day during my routine activities (about five miles on average!) But I’ve given up on logging food. For one, those late-night salami sandwiches are none of the Fitbit’s business, and, all of their food listings involve pre-packaged meals, rather than food made from scratch. I’m fortunate to get a home-made meal almost every night of the week, but it’s almost impossible to accurately record the calorie count in their system because it only “knows” pre-packaged food brands. We’ll see how it goes. I’m still grumpily skeptical about it, but at least it motivates me to take the stairs to the second-floor bathroom at work for a little extra mileage.
A writing group friend recently lent me “Station Eleven”, which is by all accounts an amazing book. I was really excited about reading it, but so far I have to admit I am finding it a little bit slow and meandering. I’m not great with big, epic, multi-character novels. I tried about five times to finish “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell”, and as much as I loved the subject matter, I just could not motivate myself to plow through it. It felt exhausting. I am hoping that a breakthrough comes soon for me in “Stations Eleven”. I’m probably struggling because I just read a suspense novel that was the literary equivalent of crack, and my brain is not ready to slow down long enough to take in long, beautiful passages. I want all of the excitement and none of the nuance. So this will be good reading hygiene for me.