It’s only 8:42 p.m. and I’m already under the covers. Not to sleep, but to write, to write just for the sake of writing. Sitting at my desk would feel too much like work, so instead I’ve arranged the pillows in support of this writing effort, supporting my back, my legs, the laptop perched on top of my lap.

I’m in San Francisco on day eight of travel. Day one took me from Humboldt to Sacramento, from there to Redondo, to Oxnard, where turning in early on Friday night brought teasing from the coworkers with whom I shared a rented beach house. In response I stayed up till nearly 3 a.m. the next night as if proving I could party was a thing I needed to do.

I love it all.

It all exhausts me.

(Do I still know how to use verbs? I wonder this as I type, fearing what writerly skill I’ve had has devolved from underuse, leaving me with an excess of adjectives and nothing but telling.)

My dad died a year ago today.

A few weeks ago, I framed some of my favorite cards. One arrived after Christmas from my work Secret Santa, a slick drawing of a surfer dropping down the face of a sizable wave. Another, brightly colored, came from a conference I attended and boasts women surfing all together while hugging a shark. Between these, a more elegant one of a large bear hugging a girl – a sympathy card on the loss of my father from a friend who became a friend the moment I met her. Some people are like that. I look at these three cards, framed in a sort of vertical triptych (is that a thing?) and the sadness in my heart scoots over to make room for love.

My dad wrote. I remember him writing when I was young, sending stories to magazines sometimes. I don’t recall any being published, but he did keep writing, eventually finding joy in chronicling his and his wife’s travels around the country. We had some things in common, it turns out. I wish we’d had more.

I sit and wait to see if something profound will emerge and it does not. Today consisted of tiny pleasures – the way the sky opened up during my morning walk, the gold edging the clouds in the evening – and small accomplishments – a drive to Sacramento resulting in less than intended, conversations with coworkers providing a bit more. The hours did not lack challenges – a missed train, the constant rekindling of worry and regret. I string the brighter moments together like twinkle lights and count on them to lead me through the darkness.