The air is cooler now and the rain has mostly stopped for the time being. Last night I went out after dark to get the mail and to breathe in the stillness. It was nautical twilight (the time when sailors are able to take reliable readings via known stars because the horizon is still visible). It was not long past the full moon early in the week, but I couldn’t see it last night. Even so, you feel something drawing you in with this air.
I was up again the other night just before midnight unable to sleep. I made a pact with myself that if I toss and turn for two consecutive hours that it’s time to get up and change everything in my environment. Room, temperature, light, sound …
I found myself downstairs in the dark.
I’m amazed at the thoughts that come to me in these early morning hours. The couch is okay for sitting but not curling up to rest. It was May Sarton who said “A house that does not have one warm, comfy chair in it is soulless”. Is that our house? Soulless? Time to rethink the furniture.
I go to bed early these days. I lie there with my eyes shut trying to imagine letting these thoughts … the ones coming at me like bullets, slip by me and go off into the void. Before I finally give up trying to sleep, I imagine a big eraser instead. I see people and things disappear before my eyes. And I’m happier. Lighter. Letting things go past is not the same as letting things go. Sometimes we must really let things go …
I pick up a book downstairs that arrived last week after a friend referred to it in her blog post. I give a single click to the lamp next to me. And in the softest of light I read: Real Women Write Beyond Covid: Leaning Into Tomorrow. Women writing about Covid, hmm. Beyond? I skim the titles and fall onto a few pages that catch my attention. I’ll read every word. This isn’t just a book full of women trying to write something to make us feel better. This is a book full of women trying to write something to make themselves feel better. Or maybe, like me, they write because what haunts them is spilling over and we need to give it a pool to fall into. We so desperately want to believe in soft landings. Perhaps the pen is a more useful tool than my eraser after all…
I think there’s a “long Covid” we haven’t considered. Moving into our third winter of this pandemic I think the cracks in our foundation have begun to show some structural uncertainty. The stress and anxiety have begun to take a toll. I see it everywhere in my own life and it scares me.
Health and relationships have become more fragile. Divisions have become deeper. Trust of people and systems are breaking down. And this just in my own world. The “long Covid” I’m trying to describe is about the damage that will go unrepaired. The lingering after-effects of a pandemic run amok.
The people saying I should relax or look at the positives might be the same people pretending Covid is not a threat. Maybe they are the ones continuing to spread the virus without care or remorse. Or maybe they really believe that if they look the other way that the danger will disappear. My doctor advised a fourth shot for me yesterday.
As a young person I did a collage of words for an art project. What I remember quoting was an American Cancer Society ad that boldly stated:
The five most dangerous words in the english language:
Is that what we think now?
Dangerous words indeed.
I’m going to keep working things out on the page. I have fears about the year and I have hopes. I don’t dare say I have plans.
My camera died a week ago.
I’m hoping that camera comes back to me sooner rather than later because I welcome the creative distraction. I found that it is my photography that inspires me to get out daily. A malfunction seemed metaphoric, but it’s absence feels catastrophic.
Many comforts have fallen away. It’s no wonder I find myself in this funk. My tethers really HAVE frayed. I think we all count on things for comfort and safety in the world. A missing camera may seem silly, but not to me.
Last night I remembered another sleepless night, just a year ago. Stumbling down to the couch, flipping on the fire, curling up in a blanket and having Gus plunk himself down on my chest. Those of you who live with these kind of spirit animals know what I mean. Those who know the depth of their absence can understand even more. My Comforter in Chief ❤
It’s only fair to note that somehow in the span of days that we lost Gus, we also lost the gas fireplace. All that comfort gone in a blink. That’s how it happens, you know. Like dominoes. Things fall away. The optimist in me knows “this is not my forever”. But I am not done just sitting with the discomfort of what is.
What is right now is hard.
What is right now can feel lonely.
What is right now is all there is.
What is right now is just enough.
Onward through the fog …