The alarm goes off at 6 and it takes several hits of the snooze button before we can lift our work stiff limbs from the bed. Hadj pulls on his bathrobe, the two dogs, Bella and Gabbie, dance around us in the excitement of a new day. The two cats, Willow and Billie, sit with their tails wrapped around their paws, waiting for the bedroom door to open. I suit up for the morning routine and we all head downstairs.
Civil twilight began at 6:27 today, the moon is just beginning to wane from full. We were up before sunrise, but as Hadj said, "I think I wanted to be out there when that happened." The sun rose into a slice of sky which rested below a stripe of softly brushed clouds. The clouds were golden and pink; the dramatic effects of night becoming day made us talk softly. I stood on the east facing wood deck, watching the sky between trees and single family homes. I imagined my view from the studio back in the city. "I was imagining the sky line" I told him, "it would be in this same direction."
"That is the sky line," he teased pointedly.
Today we "pull" the toilet and tub. Yesterday we ripped out the cabinetry, the gray stained wood panelling, and bid farewell to 30 years of bathroom memories. This is the third day of the routine we've shaped for our separate, but combined sanities. We "go around the block" - a two mile walk up and down hills - passing subdivisions built when I was in high school and college, passing street signs that lead to neighborhoods where I played with friends from grammar school. I write daily. Hadj throws the frisbee for the dogs. Just like being a warrior in the city and knowing how many stairs I climbed or blocks I crossed, I must watch this landscape and ground myself in the present. "I like the suburbs" Hadj admits as I make a face. I know what he means. The lot my parents have is a good one compared to the pre-planned communities that house other homes. There is space and beauty here, the houses have more character. I remind him that it is not necessarily this place that can make me buckle, but the weight of the memories of who I have been in it.
The coffee is ready. My eyes are light the way they are when the work I am doing satisfies me.