Two minutes pass before I realize it. Just a short walk to the kitchen for fresh coffee. Then back. The cat is on my desk again, batting at the mummy with the big red heart that hangs from the old table lamp.

Sip coffee. Enjoy the bitterness.

It doesn’t get Eddie Vedder than this.

That’s what the mug says. Under a picture of Eddie Vedder, barefoot, in jeans, a t-shirt and a jacket, holding a ukulele. My friend, Brandon, got that for me. Out of the blue. A couple years ago. He knows I enjoy Pearl Jam’s music, that I’ve been a fan for years. I should reach out today, make plans for lunch. See what he’s been up to these days.

For us, it used to be jukebox music and drinking, long moments of silence between grand ideas and boozy philosophy. Shuffleboard at the Menopause Lounge. Pool at JJ’s. Hours of barstools and booths. Staring at bottles and frothy pitchers, casually holding onto mug handles and glasses for dear life. All that time doing nothing that felt like something because we knew we were meant for more.

This is it, I guess. The more.

A cat going batshit crazy on my keyboard. My wife and kids sleeping in on the last day of Christmas vacation while my mind runs all over again. A new morning. A new year. The long list rolling out longer each day. Letter by letter, word by word. Finish the novel. Publish the poetry book. Eat right. Sleep more. Turn the clothing rack in the spare room into an elliptical. Stay away from the cookies and candy. Help. Give anonymously. Squeeze as much out of the few moments I get with my son as I can before he is grown and gone. Steal hugs from my daughter. Walk with my wife. Connect with old friends. Take time to listen to the dead.

There’s a lot to do here. Always has been. Always will be. It’s a matter of focus, prioritization, need, and desire. But most of the best work is done without thinking. It’s the doing that counts. And a morning like this, blessed with 30-degree temps cannot be wasted. It’s downright balmy for January in Northeastern Lower Michigan. The air is full of Lake Huron. Promises and precipitation. Opportunities I’ll no doubt discover as I put on my boots, head outside, and take down our Christmas lights.

~ KJ


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