To the country to be full-time cultivars of the spirit

I now have the warm socks, the woolen ones; they came in the mail yesterday. I’m told the wood is stacked up in the shed, ready in case the power goes out. We’re supposed to pick up an axe (the old one looked a shame, even to a novice such as myself) as well as a chainsaw for the place but we can’t do that until we get there. So that’s about that, I guess: it’s only a question of time–a few weeks; in god’s eyes, no time at all–before we head out for the mountains and snow. To the woods and the snowy mountains where we hope to be full-time cultivars of the spirit.

It already feels like we’re gone. I was restless yesterday, wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself, what to make of myself and my time. (More tea? The teabags hang, defeated and cigar-smoked, this morning.) I’ve been anticipating the days of quiet, of quiet thinking and writing, of conversations with far-off conversation partners, the seasons of change, the time without disturbance, but yet–and here I don’t mean to romanticize–we’ve also been preparing for the cold and the noiselessness, there where there will be no busyness, nothing but nature’s open stirrings. The neighbors have advised us to leave the car below the steep driveway so that the car won’t be snowed in. We have entrusted ourselves to fate, to fortitude, and to the pace of our living patience.

I believe I’m leaving the city with about as much as I arrived with. (Give or take.) The sports coats, once hung for academic interviews, were donated to Goodwill. The books are mostly sold or gifted save my copy of Plotinus. So, I’m leaving with less than I came with… well, no. I came without savings and have, elbow over elbow, season over season, paid off most of my debts and managed to make my modest fortune. Which is perhaps what coming to New York, for us wayward ones, is and has always been about. Making something of oneself, making oneself into something: making, self-fashioning anyway. I often hear: “If you make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.” Well, I don’t know. All the same, goodbye Upper East Side, you friendly friend, you sanctuary and bivouac.

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