The View From Halfway Through

Nathan Phelps
2 min readFeb 14, 2022


Hot water flows with tugging pressure across my back, where it spills over onto my chest and divides into tiny little streams like aquatic roots searching for bunches of hyphae, trying to get plugged in. The flowing water bats against my limited chest hair as it passes, river grass in a current.

I really don’t remember ever having chest hair. My college friends would still say I don’t, which is… true.

It’s already halfway through February?

Shit. I swear yesterday I was talking to my roommate about how rent was due tomorrow, and I joked that January didn’t exist because I always pay rent early. Rent can’t be due tomorrow. It’s always due when I’m on top of the present. When I’m in control. Tomorrow can’t be close to March. Spring hasn’t arrived, 2022 isn’t already spoken for, is it?

My cousin (and roommate) comes back from three months in Brazil in two weeks. Three months feels a long time until you’re standing in the shower realizing you have no idea what you’ve done the last three months. Maybe I’ll just make this shower feel like three months. Just focus on the present. Fall back into my sphere of awareness. Hear the clattering hum of the shower, enjoy the warmth, let go by closing my eyes, notice the rush of air ascend up through my nostrils, rustling all the dancing cilia, and moving down into my spongy lungs.

This is it, huh.

Another shower, another coffee, another half-assed workout, another painful story of death and despair, more shit politics, and a daily push altogether Sisyphean toward something better, for what — survival? Pride? A way to hide?

But then, I remember a trick I learned years ago. One that, despite me being aware of its power, despite me knowing it’s a “hack”, still brings life and peace and joy and functions a bit like a brightness knob. A spiritual flip that changes concave into convex. Takes the boring and makes it shimmer with hints of magic.

And it only works (at least to my knowledge and experience), with a heaping foundation of privilege and security, but it goes like this:

I notice, really notice, that my lungs are rich. My body is warm. My mind is healthy. My community is strong. My oldest brother and sister-in-law are trying to have a kid — my cousin is pregnant. My heart is open. Music is being made. Stories are being written. Love is being given, and someone, somewhere, is dancing.

And I realize just how lovely that really is.



Nathan Phelps

Nashville-Based Writer & Musician —Writing about practicing music and whatever else comes to mind.