It was warm for a morning in early January.

Fog blanketed the vineyards below us, but the buttery sun was already unraveling it thread by thread. Cruciform vine posts protruded through the reposing billows. I noticed the sun’s very yellowness painting the world. Everything seemed not only illumined but gilded with a golden gladness.

My best friends had married each other yesterday. Their wedding was reverent and right. We had spent the weekend celebrating together with deeply joyful hearts. It was not the kind of wedding where people demanding perfection complained about dramatic family members or technical difficulties. It was not the sort of day where people rushed to posture themselves in the act of creating special moments. Every moment was savored because we were close and comfortable in our long friendships, and in our collective satisfaction in the blessed union between this man and this woman.

It was the sort of wedding that did not stir in me envy or loneliness. It was inspiring. It made me want to live better.

My best friends had married each other yesterday, and now there was nothing more to be done except wake up slowly in a beautiful, borrowed home in Napa, California, and decided where best to view the fog dissipating from the cupped hand of the valley.

“Let’s go skinny dipping,” one of us proposed. My friend, a fellow bridesmaid, and I, had discovered a hot tub on the back porch. None of the neighbors could see us, but we  could see vineyards sloping down below us, green hills around. It was the sort of morning to say “yes” to things.

We talked about the wedding. We talked about being single. We talked about our ambitions. We talked about how good it was to see our friends so in love. We asked each other what we were going to do next.

I was 27 years old. I was living alone in rural, northern California, working as a special education teacher. What was I going to do next? I loved my job, and I was enjoying life in a small town–quite the change from the congested freeways of Southern California where I had lived for nearly a decade. Life was slow and spacious. I was able to rent a house for the first time–not a shared apartment, but my very own house–with a front yard, a backyard, and an extra bedroom.

What was I going to do next, I wondered as I watched drops of warm water cling to my fingertips, each containing an inverted, gilded world. I was happy with my life, but there was just so much room in my house, so much space at my table.

I have never done well with wide margins. I always write to the very edge, always fill the space and time I’m given. And now, I had too much house, too much table, too much time. These were resources that cried to be better spent.

I rested my head on the edge of the hot tub and looked at the bright world where things seemed possible.

“I think I’m going to adopt a child,” I said.

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