I grounded myself today.
For more than a week, I've intended to clean up the mess that was my "filing system" on the guest bed. Only I'd procrastinated, occupied myself with other things that seemed more inviting at the time. I wasn't necessarily putting it off, because the feeling of accomplishment that comes from cleaning up such clutter -- of organizing and filing and putting away -- can be rather satisfying.
But I hadn't done it. "I can do it Friday," I promised myself. Friday came and I did other stuff, hours passed and 4 o'clock rolled around and I had to gather up my things and head down to the bus stop. My list -- which started with "Wednesday" at the top, then had a line put through that day and "Monday" added after it -- had just three things remaining, the biggest of which was the credit card statements, pay stubs, bank statements and vacation souvenirs that collectively fell under the term "Files" and obscured the bedspread in the guest room.
So Saturday it was. I'd get up, work out (not a normal part of the Saturday routine, but on this day, Casey was not home for tempting procrastination in the morning, and I had a night shift at work), stop by Whole Foods for milk and other things and, after lunch, take to the filing while watching Fox's Saturday afternoon ballgame.
Today was gorgeous. My bad. For days now, I've stepped out onto our balcony or taken the shortcut across the parking lot to the fitness room or gone out on an errand and felt the low humidity, the cool warmth of summer air and summer sun. And for fleeting moments, on the August zephers, I smelled a hint of autumn.
I imagine the leaves, the grass or the shrubs are beginning their first steps in their fall transformations. Perhaps it was the Canadian air that came down to cool us off after the heat wave. But something on the breeze carried scents I know from September afternoons in the park or October Saturdays at a football game. Summer is nice, but some days, the heat and humidity drive me inside, make me prefer the cool comfort of air conditioning to an afternoon by the pool or a day at a ballgame. In the fall, though, why would you want to be inside?
But I was good. I adhered to my punishment and cleared the clutter. I admit, some of the things -- those souvenirs from various trips taken this year -- were simply separated into another pile that was then placed on top of a box in front of my photo box bookshelf, but the bed is now suitable for sitting and will require only the removal of the clothes designated for donation to be ready for visitors.
Now, though, if August has one more heat wave in store, or if the days remain sunny and pleasant, I won't be restrained to the house. I'll have the freedom to step outside for a hike or a drive and can enjoy it.
At least until I remember that my side of the closet is in need of neatening.
Lou Gehrig in Asbury Park
4 years ago