The sky is the color of smoke. A paler shade of gray.
It has been cold all day. For once there is not a whisper of wind. The branches are still as statues in their bareness. Occasionally there is the sound of a car driving past.
It is 4 p.m. When my kids were young, that was always the worst time of day. Too late for a snack; too early for supper.
The dogs seem to get restless at this particular time. Charlie drifts aimlessly through the house. He seems not to know what he wants. Now he's on the top of the couch, staring out. Hoping, I'm sure, for someone to walk past. A squirrel to run across the grass. Something to happen. A barkable moment.
It doesn't come.
I feel at odds today. I think with Christmas drawing near, I am feeling that old familiar feeling that often hits this time of year. A bit of melancholy.
Melancholy. Isn't that a pretty word? Isn't it funny how some pretty words don't conjure up pretty things?
I look at melancholy as the first phase of sadness. Melancholy is just the beginning of the winding road that leads you know not where. I seem to find myself driving down that winding road come winter.
I have never been a wanderer. A nomad. I have never desired to do lots of traveling.
For the past few days I've been playing with the idea of what it would be like to hit the open road. Save up and get one of those vintage trailers, and the dogs and I would take to the road. Sleep in our little trailer of tin.
But then I'd just yearn for home. Somehow, despite all my efforts, this does not really feel like home. It is a nice sturdy old house. It has had many inhabitants since the thirties. Shadows of residents drift through the rooms. The walls have seen and heard so much.
But I don't feel like it chose me. It's walls keep me warm and give me shelter. I sleep within them peacefully at night.
Still I don't seem to know quite where I belong. Whether it is in sun-filled states with vast oceans. Or in places filled with trees and mountains.
I don't feel the warmth of this old house embracing me. I don't know why.
I am at the age when I know I need to start living a dream. That I'm getting to a point in time when dreams will soon be things I merely think about. With a dose of regret. And a bit of melancholy.
Every day I take to the open road of the internet and search for new places, different climates. Picturesque villages. I wonder if I picked myself up and placed myself there, if I would know for sure that that's where I belonged. If the feeling would fill my every pore. Knowing.
It would be nice to know, for certain sure, that that's where I was meant to be.