It is another day. I choose to practice. I am not yet awake. My body feels worn out this week. Tired. Can’t get enough sleep. In the evenings, I get home from work, meetings, whatever I have going on, and plop down on the couch. The sun gleefully beams in the windows. It’s my first spring living in this house. I like it.
Finches, cardinals, robins, nuthatches, and downy woodpeckers flit back and forth from the 3 feeders to the ash and juniper in front of the deck. The sun is strong through the fogged picture window. I sometimes have to lower the blinds so I can see my laptop screen. My back is sore. I must have slept on it wrong.
I am in transition. The same as the seasons. The winter was fruitful. There is a noticeable gap in the weeks I used to go to Taos. Last year was full of writing trips to Taos. This year, I make plans to go South to work on my book. And don’t really even understand exactly what that means.
I’m reminded of one writer friend who is flying across the Midwest in her Subaru wagon, mile after mile after mile, gathering details for a story she is writing. Did you know Subaru is the Japanese word for the Pleiades? Information is falling into her lap at breakneck speed: interviews, relatives, old landmark buildings, prisons, diners, prosecutors, and gallows. She leaves me messages daily, connection, and tells me she has no idea where all this is leading.
I feel the same way. Yet her last words to me in her voicemail this morning from somewhere in Missouri were, “I love being a writer.” I wonder if that’s something writers will always experience. Not knowing where we are going. Yet loving that we are writers. I don’t know.
All I know is that my back is sore, I’m exhausted, and I’m also the happiest I’ve ever been. Happiness, that elusive feeling that soars along brain lines with serotonin and epinephrin and pheromones. When I’m down, how much is hormonal? And how much is me?
When I’m happy, how much is hormonal, how much circumstantial? And how much is me? I am glad to be alive. And there are some who do not get to make that choice. I grieve as we all grieve. Wave after wave sweeps the nation. But I choose to focus on hope. For all the single-minded villains out there, there are a million other humans moving the mountain of grief toward healing.
Easy for me to say. I’m never going to know what it was like in Blacksburg. I listened to NPR this morning to an incredibly brave and composed woman walking the interviewer through what started as any normal morning. Then, there she was under fire in the center of her German class. Everyone around her was shot – but her. How do you make sense out of that? I don’t know if I have that kind of bravery in me. She is brave to want her voice to be heard. She is alive.
It is good to be alive on a Midwestern spring morning. I appreciate my life, my friends, the writers that keep me going, my family who never gives up on me. If nothing else, gratitude for what I have will keep me going. I have to focus on the glass half full. It’s an old cliche. But it’s my way of grieving.
What makes me happy? Living each day as fully as I can. The simplicity of playing with 3 cats on the Queen-size bed in the morning while my partner dresses and laughs in the corner, sipping her morning French Roast.
Writing makes me happy. It also brings a lot of hard truths. On this spring filled Thursday, when the word of the day in the dictionary I just pulled up online is debauchery, connecting makes me happy. I’ve been craving the safety of home; I have also been needing connection. And love. As corny as it sounds, yes, love.
Thursday, April 19th, 2007