We walk the narrow path down the beach, grasshoppers leaping in and out of the grasses. I am carrying Jack in the car seat.
We are down by the water – it is so cold now even though it’s only early September. I wade in, take a deep breath, jump in. It is so much easier than it used to be. Jack flails delightedly from his car seat on the shore, beaming as I reemerge.
I feel guilty for doing something for the pure enjoyment of it. If the doing is its own reward, why spend time on it?
Writing is one such thing. It is an audacious thing. Sometimes even reading seems audacious. Who am I to spend my time in these ways? To clean a house, perhaps to take a walk, to make food, these things are sensible. Relaxing is also acceptable, and occasional laziness is forgivable. But to write? Nothing will come of it. Audacity is shameful.
Sometimes spending time with Jack is pure enjoyment. I should be cataloging it, should be photographing it to share. How many hundreds, thousands of minutes did we have just the two of us that I have no record of? How many thousands of moments have I watched him, not directed or instructed but observed, enjoyed quietly?
The morning swim is its own reward. I have nothing to show for myself. Writing is its own reward. Worse than nothing, I have something to show but it is not yet right. Being with Jack means I have produced no tangible expression for the passing of time in a day, only the burden of a fading collection of moments I’ve witnessed.