The week before Halloween found me on my front porch very early every morning drinking my doppio and journaling. This is the drill before work every day. I am able to use my rejuvenated and rested mind to plan my intentions for the day, and prepare to work on Back outta the World before the rest of the world awakes and comes after my thoughts. It works. The porch is quiet, the street in front of my house is calm and the neighbors not up. A great environment for thinking. Except his week. It being Halloween week, I faced something out of the normal: the distraction of my neighbor’s audio enhanced Halloween decorations. He did not set a timer to shut them off, or shut them off manually so the audio played all night. It was not loud enough to hear until I took my seat on the front porch, ready to sip, think and write.
The time is so precious to me. If I can get in one revamped and improved paragraph of Back outta the World then that feeling of personal achievement can carry me for the balance of the day. I have achieved something positive in my day before I even punch in at work. So I stayed on my chair and with the porch routine. I become accustomed to the fake ghost calls, creaky doors and werewolf howls. After three mornings of this, the scary noises were no longer scary and not even distractions to my morning writing time.
Then came the time change and the morning after Halloween night. As it was a Sunday I made no connection to the time on my phone changing to having to be anywhere. It was Sunday and all I had to do was make my doppio and get out on the porch. I did both. I stepped out to a much darker front porch than I expected. It was then I remembered the time change. But something else was different. No Halloween lights were on. The street was almost entirely without light. Everyone had turned off their Halloween lights and not put their porch lights on. Darker than usual. But I had my porch light on so I opened my journal. No Halloween noises. Good. My precious morning time was back. Silent. Still. Dark.
I got down to writing in my journal. I always note the date and time and judge the quality of my doppio to start out the entries. I just finished this when I heard something scuttling across my lawn. Something even was moving out there just beyond the light cast from my porch light. I felt suddenly vulnerable. I heard the noise again. Could it be cat? The noise was a scrapping type. It was not the soft paws of a cat. The scrapping of claws. I had my jammies and slippers on. I was not dressed to fight off whatever was out there. I stood up. I heard the scrapping claw noise again. I was scared. It was too damn dark and too quiet. No one else was up around me. No one would be out in a minute to start their car and head to work. It was foolish to be scared on my own front porch. But I was.
So, I quickly stepped back inside my house, locked the door behind me and slowly settled back down to work. I was finishing my first mug of drip coffee of the morning when it struck me. The tree in my front yard had been dropping it’s leaves for a while now. They were already dry. I had yet to rake and there was enough of a breeze this morning to send them scrapping across the sidewalk and street in front of my house. It had probably been happening all week but I hadn’t noticed due to my neighbor’s Halloween soundtrack. It was a relief. Thirty minutes later I hustled out my front door, across the lawn,stepping on some of the once scary leaves, got into my car and sped off to work.
I am not sure what makes a book great, or what makes someone’s writing worth reading. However, I know my fears when I see and feel them. I certainly felt them on the way to publishing Tripio. More recently, I felt a lot of fear before placing a call to interview my old boss and Starbucks legend Howard Behar. In both instances, the fears turned out to be nothing more than dry leaves being blown along the sidewalk. In fact, sitting on my backside, safe from the leaf terror in my dining room right now, I can’t remember specifically what any of them were. I will be back on my porch chair tomorrow morning, even if I haven’t raked those leaves. Whether that happens or not the scariest thing about fears would have been not doing anything about them.
I started this post two days ago. I thought it was done. But I was not. Yesterday, I was sitting on my porch after work in the glory of the cool fall evening, soaking in the post work day vibe on my street. I watched a different neighbor about three doors south collect her leaves on her lawn. She did not seem to be afraid of them. In fact, she and her son seemed to be having fun with it. They finished and their front lawn was clean and the grass under the leaves still green and pleasant to look at. I noticed that all the lawns on my street were clean and green, expect mine. I assume no one else on my block was afraid of their leaves. We all have different fears, as we should. That is because we all have different things to learn about ourselves. They say that fear is a great motivator. It can be. I think of that now as an affirmation that fear is a tool given to us to help us learn and overcome what we fear in and about to ourselves.
Okay. Now I’m really done. Gotta go find my rake and clear my lawn. I’m afraid of what the neighbors might say.
“May I help who’s next.