Wordy Wednesday

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 …

10 Comments on “Wordy Wednesday

  1. Oh wow. This was tough. You expressed some of the exact worries I have been feeling; a different long Covid. I’m going to use your expression now. What are the consequences to us at our core? in our communities? of all of this? How will the as-yet undefined trauma play out? It must be there; I can feel it. I see that you can too. I am so sorry. Here’s a hug from Rainier. Also, damn, I did not know you lost your Gus. I can’t imagine adding this grief to the other struggles. It’s good you still have the snuggle memories, but I am so sorry he’s gone.

    • Thanks, Crystal. Yes, my sweet Gus. Such a comfort. I hope he’s happy wherever he is. This long Covid is for real and I’m with you, no one really knows what it will look like tomorrow. Or next week. Or next year. Thanks for the hug ❤

  2. Your images and words for ‘onward through the fog’ are a beacon for us fellow travelers. ‘Spilling over…..and needing a pool to fall into’, ‘belief in soft landings’, are an inspiration. Learning what nautical twilight means after 73 plus years of not knowing made me realize I still am happy to learn new things. Thanks and take care.

    • Thanks so much for being along for the journey. When I started learning about twilight I fell in love with the sky all over again. May we always be happy to learn new things*

  3. Beautiful again. That first photo is incredible. You are masterful at evoking emotion through your words; I feel every bit of your anguish. This was not the year to lose Gus. I want to think he gave you all you needed to get through this, and is with you still, inside rather than on top of your chest as you use words on the page for comfort. I do believe (stupid people aside) that we will learn to live with it and forge a new way of life as humans have so many times in the past. I will send you a page from “Wintering” than addresses wakefulness in the night; and Real Women is in my stack of books that has suddenly gone from nothing to too much. I am missing my fireplace too, and I haven’t heard a word about the parts. My pillar candles fill the hole, and I want more. I don’t believe this will end. (Nikon needs to send you a new camera.)

    • Thank you so much. As for Gus, his presence was always greater than his absence, but there are times I miss having him to hold. Animals can ground and comfort us in so many ways. I’m beginning to think that losing the camera for awhile was meant to narrow my focus to what is in front of me. A good reminder to stay aware of where I stand in any given moment, even when I have the magic of looking ahead with a strong lens. I’m glad for your wise counsel. Thanks for being in my orbit.

  4. Creating is always better than erasing. 🙂 I like this realisation of yours. I like it how you spill out all that was needed. I also like that cancer ad slogan. It’s all been so weird, for so long now. 🙁 We do what we can. I hope you get your camera back soon.

    • Thanks, Manja. That ad was great inspiration and stuck with me for decades. It really does speak to the danger of not being awake and aware. Thanks for being here.

  5. Thank you for this. And yes to all of it. The hope and fear, and the feeling of being unmoored, at sea. No one can say it will all go away, but we can say it will be different. Hope we have some say in what the changes will be though. That would help. Here’s to finding our way.

    • Thanks for being here, Nancy. Sometimes the people who fall into our space act as compasses. Without a map, it is such a comfort to have others help guide me through the thicket. Cheers to finding our way.

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