The front desk assures me that the wifi is working. My laptop and phone say otherwise. I remember I don’t need wifi to write, in fact wifi likely impedes writing as being online offers so many shiny distractions. One glance at Facebook and I’m clicking to see exactly how I’ve been cooking rice the wrong way all these years.
Several hours ago, I’d considered climbing out of the nest I’d made of pillows – big, fluffy hotel pillows tucked around me just so – unable to sleep despite being comfy, despite being tired. Another insomnia post unspooled in my head and I thought I might write. But instead, I rearranged myself and tried to meditate. This is a thing I am trying to do. Technically, all I’m trying to do is not think for a few minutes – I don’t sit up and pretzel my legs into a lotus position, I just get as comfortable as I can and, following the directions of the latest how-to article, try to focus on my breathing and only on my breathing. And then I try again. And again. Shut up, brain. And again. I don’t know that I’m achieving much, but the effort at least distracts me from the ceaseless worrying that caroms around my skull at 3 a.m. most mornings. Eventually I fell back asleep. Soon I will get on the road back to Humboldt, to home.
Yesterday was an excellent day. I’m in Sacramento because yesterday was Ocean Day, an annual opportunity to talk to legislators and their staff about coastal health, marine protected areas, sea level rise and trash policy, among other issues. Maybe it sounds boring phrased that way, but the passion, energy and – notably – intelligence of my fellow colleagues not only renews my own enthusiasm, but makes me even more grateful for the people who grok the science, wade through the policy, take the time to help others understand the what and the why and the how, and have the vision and dedication to keep trying to make bad things better and good things great.
I arrived in this world late to the game – not for lack of belief or smarts, but because I was busy having babies and figuring out that part of life instead of going to college and grad school and interning on amazing projects in other countries. Sometimes the awareness that I’m older and less accomplished than my professional peers unbalances me a bit. But mostly it’s okay. Yesterday, I didn’t think about it at all. I ended up leading our team when the assigned person couldn’t make it at the last minute – but I use the term lightly because what our planning actually looked like was four people together making suggestions, creating a plan that complemented each person’s strengths and knowledge and then launching into the Capitol to unleash upon our elected officials. And by “unleash,” I mean, “respectfully inform.” And by our “elected officials,” I mean, “mostly their staff.” Nonetheless, I feel some good was done and any that wasn’t, was not for lack of effort. This work, it matters.
I’m tired. I wish I could curl back up in bed and sleep for a few hours instead of packing up and hitting the road. I wish I could unpack the energy from yesterday. As it is, I’m savoring this liminal space in which the hotel room allows me to exist. My Sacramento goals have been met, but the moment I exit, all the other to-dos, all the worries held at bay, will rush upon me. Since I’ll be driving, not-thinking isn’t an option, but maybe the grandeur of the view will help me breathe.