Working here on North Caicos (writing, that is, not cleaning windows or repainting rooms) is both easier and harder than doing the same in Richmond.
On the upside, there is comfort plus inspiration and time. I am a warm-weather and sunny-days person; here I never have to add clothing to be warm enough to write, and I rarely have to fight the gloom of endless gray days. Island life continues to feed me stories, characters and voices. And a simpler way of living adds time that up north would be spent getting places, going to meetings and watching TV.
The downside includes technology and my social life. The tiny Dell netbook that I leave here so that I don't have to lug my laptop around is slow, sometimes maddeningly so, and occasionally I ask too much of it. I must relearn patience with every trip. As for the social stuff, well, let's just say it's way too easy to find someone to join a midday drink and chat. People here are rarely too busy to socialize, and no one has to "pencil you in."
Neverthless, I do work, sometimes even pushing to meet a deadline. That's what I was doing yesterday when I discovered an in-between pleasure of writing on the island: taking a break. When I finally said, "Enough!" and pulled my eyes away from the screen, what awaited them, with little effort, was a wide-angle view of the horizon, draped in turquoise with one thin reef line. It was instantly soothing.
When I take similar breaks in Richmond, I can go to the roof of my building and look out over the city, but as interesting as the skyline is, it lacks that extra sweep that gives us the perspective we often forget: What we do and who we are is only a miniscule part of something wonderful and magnificent.
Looking into the distance is not something I'd want to do all the time, but these glimpses of it do wonders for the soul.
For me, that lesson is worth a few slow downloads.