I've been having a hard time focusing lately. I pick up a book, read a little bit, then switch it for another book. I pick up my pen or open a document, write a few words, then switch to another piece of writing. I don't know if I'm suffering from my annual mid-winter malaise, if I'm just in a senescence period after two years of grad school, or if I just can't function without externally imposed deadlines and a steady stream of praise (or criticism, depending on the mentor). Then, last Wednesday evening, I had an hour or so to myself. I spent it in silence, just letting my body go where my brain directed it. I ate a silent dinner, read a bit, and started feeling inspired to write something, until I remembered my family would be home in a few minutes, which froze all inspiring thoughts in their tracks. I realized that, in part at least, I needed some head space--quiet time, unscheduled time, time to daydream and follow thought-threads. Time to just be.
Just such a time came on Saturday. M went snowboarding with a friend for the weekend, and C had his first maple syrup boil, which meant he and Z and E were outside, out of my hair, most of the day. While I could have set a lot of writing goals, I decided to just do whatever I felt like at the time (which meant no housework, except tidying my room so I could work and two loads of laundry). I worked my way through parts of several books (finishing one) and magazines.
I finished M's quilt top, adding the outer borders. And I even did some writing.
In the late afternoon, after E had come in to watch a movie, I headed out to check on the syrup boil.
I thought C was crazy tapping trees when the nighttime temperatures were still dipping well below zero Fahrenheit, but, once he thawed out his sap, he made close to five quarts of syrup.
Z, meanwhile, busied himself "blacksmithing" these old stove parts.
Sunday was back to business as usual, though I snuck in a bubble bath and more reading.
After I helped E and Z with a long-overdue room cleaning, E asked if someday we could spin wool into yarn.
I dug out this spindle that I bought a few years ago at the Fiber Frolic and managed to reacquaint myself with the rhythm of spinning, while E and Z played with roving.
How do you find head space among days full of family and chaos?