On the tenth day of the new year–ten days before President Trump–there was a calm between storms. Icy streets melting into slush as we drove north, paralleling the Wasatch. A surprise day away from the Mother Ship. Among all these recent staff changes, somehow my free day had been left off the schedule, unnoticed until yesterday.

“You can have tomorrow off…or Thursday,” the department manager had informed me with her brightest smile. “What’s your preference?”

“Tomorrow?” I said. “I can have tomorrow off?”

“You can have tomorrow off,” she repeated, pen poised over the clip-boarded and marked-up schedule. “Is that what you want?”

“Yes,” I said. “I’d love tomorrow off. We’re going to the hot springs!”

“I look forward to seeing the pictures.”

2017 has pounded us with more snow that we’ve received in years. Side-streets impassable as city snowplows struggle to keep main roads clear. Heroic measures have been required for all the residents of our little corner of Whoville; shoveling sidewalks,  driveways, and parking spots out on the street until you can’t raise your arms anymore. You’re not sure if you’re exhausted or just dehydrated. Most likely both. Unending days of dark, grey, wintry weather and that ever-present impending great glooming Cloud of Unknowing: the incumbency of President Trump.

Granted a random day off and the blessing of an incoming Pineapple Express, everything seems to pause. Tomorrow there will be flooding. Today we’re on our way to soak and recuperate. And here’s the thought that occurred to me today while floating, drifting on my back in 104-degree water. Writing doesn’t have to be like the myth of Sisyphus, where you’re struggling to roll this great rock up a hill that always rolls down again. Sometimes it’s like rolling a great snowball up a hill.

Starting at the edge of the pool, right over there, where they’ve piled up snow. Then up the hill, across the highway, onto the bench, over the mountain tops. What a sight when it inevitably rolls down again and dissolves into these steaming springs.