on one side of a big, unpredictable thing before it happens

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I’m writing this on Tuesday. You won’t read it until at least Saturday. Maybe later. If you’re on the East Coast and we end up with widespread power outages, you’re probably reading it much, much later.

Right now, though, I’m waiting for my board meeting to begin, and I’m worried about whether I’ll be able to find any gas stations with gas on the way home.

Right now, I’m considering the sturdiness of the trees in our yard, where our loved ones are headed, and whether we have enough or too much to get us through if our power is out for a week.

Right now, I’m wondering if my uncle who is in hospice on the coast will pass before the storm hits.

I’m thinking about what it’s like to be on one side of a big, unpredictable thing before it happens. What it’s like for one person.

And then what it’s like when a group of people are all together on one side of a big, unpredictable thing before it happens.

Everyone scared, all together.

Everyone trying to take care of themselves and their families, all together.

Everyone wondering if they’re being too scared or not scared enough, too emotional or not emotional enough, too practical or not practical enough, too brave or not brave enough, all together.

Everyone worrying about being, in the end, very alone—all together.

This is the moment before.

Necessary to the story.

This is part and parcel when we experience transition.

Sometimes, we don’t get to choose when it happens—a hurricane, a loved one dying, getting an opportunity, a baby being born. Sometimes we do—taking a new job, ending a relationship, announcing a new direction.

Sometimes, there’s mostly fear. Sometimes, it’s mostly excitement. More often than not, what we feel is a disorienting and stomach-lurching mixture of both.

Transitions. Small and large.

This is how life is made.

And this is how art is made.

There is always a moment before: Paint on the brush in front of the blank canvas. The inhale when the conductor raises the baton. Body anticipating the first step, the first word, the first sound. Someone or a group of someones on one side of a big, unpredictable thing, not knowing how it will turn out.




They remind us of our shared humanity.

They remind us that we are not alone.

I love you.