** Warning: this will be a rambling, mumbly, self-indulgent posts on dreams. Feel free to look away.
If 2013 was the Year of the Sea, 2014 is turning out to be the Year of Major Life Decisions. I had an inkling this year would be a big one and that’s turning out to be true. Doors are closing, but windows are opening. Life is opening up to us in ways we never expected. We’ve spent so many long afternoons this year pondering the big questions: Where do we want to live for the rest of our lives? What do we want that life to look like?
There’s this image that keeps creeping into my head when I think of “home”. I’m coming home after a long day, feeling tired and miserable. It’s dark already, and cold, the days getting shorter now that winter is here. I walk up to my house and I pause for just a second. There’s warm light spilling from all the windows. There’s a fire on — I can smell woodsmoke, and dinner bubbling on the stove, something rich that will require bread to soak up. The chill on my neck and the ache in my shoulders don’t seem to matter anymore. I know in just a second I’ll walk through that door, shed my coat and shoes, and everything will be alright. I’ll find comfort and warmth and family.
At some point it occurred to us that we didn’t have to spend the rest of our days in the place we sprouted. We’re just now coming to figure our where we might like to be and all I can think about is that one image of home. I want snow. I want rain. I want weather that keeps you inside on cold evenings with those you love best. I love summer and I love the sun, but maybe after 24 years of it I’m full up. I want the other side of it, too.
There are other reasons: It’s in the weather and early dark that I find my inspiration as a writer. It’s in that intersection between comfort and hardship that I find my stories. I’ve never yet been able to write a book set in summer. I find it intensely difficult to write when it’s beautiful and warm outside, to the point where I have to close the blinds and turn on rainycafe.com in order to get down a scene. What if I lived in a place where weather was a daily event? What if winter shut me in for months at a time, with just my words and my loved ones? What if going outside was an adventure, and coming home was sweet relief? What then?
The best part of dreaming is that logic doesn’t have to be part of the process. I can romanticize the cold and rain as much as I like. I can send us to Washington State or Massachusetts or Finland tomorrow and we can live out the rest of our lives in a rustic cabin in the woods. But we’re doing more than dreaming, now. Little windows of opportunity are opening up here and there, and we’re checking them against the dream. Will they bring us closer to it? Or further away? What do we really want for our lives? Is it here? Or somewhere else?
Big things, guys. Big dreams. This is the stuff I live for.