Into fall

When cars stop at crosswalks with music playing loud, I always watch as people find the beat and walk in rhythm, sometimes with mild embarrassment and sometimes unabashed joy. My days here have their rhythm too and I easily fall into it. I think we all look for that beat, whether it's our own or one imposed on us.

When I got back from vacation, I promised to cling to the rhythmless days. I saw truths transmitted through the looseness of travel that normal routine muffles. Still now, weeks after I'm back, I'm clinging to the early mornings of that time zone and resisting that familiar, numbing rhythm. I leave the TV off and buy more books, sticking with resolutions I made.

And every day, I fight a quiet war against prevailing moods and manners, against stresses that, in a foreign place, seemed wholly manufactured. But routine really is a compelling beat. I feel myself gravitating towards it again, finding ways to move my body to it, and I start to relax and enjoy its familiar cadence.

Transitions after holidays pit me against myself. My free-wheeling self against the one that loves to find that daily groove. The lure of practiced reactions and routines in the face of vacation's romantic mutiny.

And every day back, doubt builds: I start to believe that those truths transmitted while I was away were but idle dreams in an unhinged geography. That this rhythm is really closer to the truth and something I ought not to fight.

Still, too, every day the lingering mutiny: That life could be more than this simple rhythm that starts so languid but eventually constricts. That what I thought there, so clearly, by the sea was true.

And I try not to struggle too much while all of this works itself out inside of me. I look for compromises, ways of bringing the two closer together. Ways of being patient and taking it by the small decisions and not the sweeping gestures.

This week, I'm watching the seasons shift and hoping I can latch onto fall's trajectory, using it to pull me onto a different course, a better way of being back in my familiar place.
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