A cat by any other name

Marking the sun



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Meow to me

The sky Monday night was awash in pink and gold and purple as I drove home. I wanted so badly to stop on the side of the road and just watch as the sun set, but I had to be somewhere and I was already speeding in order to make it. So I had to make do with watching as I drove madly down the freeway homeward bound, darting glances out the side window at a sky streaked with more color than I've seen in a sunset for a while. Sunsets need clouds for maximum beauty, but there's a delicate balance - too many and it blocks the view; too few and there is nothing to reflect the color back. Sunrises can do without clouds, but sunsets need just enough. That night there were just enough. A few days before, driving home, I had time to stop and watch the sun sink past the horizon. Pulled my car off the road and sat on the hood. It was on one of the back country roads I take to get from my town to the next, and so there was very little traffic. I could hear cars on the distant freeway, but the more immediate sounds were the random melodies of birds and crickets. I watched the sun disappear and the sky move from lavender and pink, to the silhouette of a landscape that always happens when there are clouds - if you stare up at them just at the right time during a sun set, it almost looks as if you are gazing across some oddly familiar landscape of hills and plains, surrounding an open, cloudless lake of sky. The bugs finally chased me back into my car, else I'd have stayed until it was pitch dark. I wanted so badly to be able to do that Monday, because the balance of clouds was perfect. But the day was too long and too tiring. I drove to work watching the sun as it crept up over the horizon, rimmed in gold, and I drove home in time to watch it go away. Days where I work this much drain me of energy. There have been too many days like that recently, and it's highly likely they will continue for a few more weeks.

I am restless again. Our manager came up to see us today and she and I spoke about what my options would be once this project is over. She took the reminder that I intended to make this project my last one as a consultant with fairly good grace, even offering suggestions, and noting that she would send me names to talk to in other departments. The conversation, although informative, has only made me more frustrated with this situation, simply because I realize that I won't be able to leave for another four to six months at least. It's not that I don't like this project, because I do - quite a bit. It's just that I've tried not to think about how much longer this would go on, and talking with her forced me to put it into perspective.

I just have to be patient. It's difficult, knowing that there is an end in sight but it's still too far away to touch, but I know that it's coming. And perhaps I am fooling myself. I don't expect that switching to a new department in the company will suddenly give me oodles more free time, but I do expect that I won't be expected to work more than nine or ten hours a day (instead of 12+ like now), and the commute will be much shorter, and perhaps I'd start to have more time to stop and watch those gorgeous sunsets when I see them.

Or perhaps another way to look at it would be to note that if it weren't for these insane work hours, I might never be paying attention to the sky and so maybe there is the bright side. At least it's something to hold on to, while I wait.