Since the first of May, since recovering my health and strength once more, I have been coming down to my desk, pulling up this picture. Thinking, yes, that's it.
Thinking, I will post about this.
But then I don't.
I do other things, beyond the usual things.
- Plot out the interweaving pattern of the Bee Book which I finally see how to do.
- Pull indistinguishing vetch from the flower beds.
- Walk in the sunrise.
- Wash windows.
- Break in a new bike seat.
- Train for the coming coast ride, chugging up my monster hills with unexpected strength.
- Sit with my neighborhood old ladies.
- Take pictures of light through leaves.
- Choose music for the choir, relearning how to lead as they perform once, twice.
- Sew a blue dress with pinafore for Eldest's appearance as Alice in Wonderland.
- Teach someone how to make bread.
- Write up a job description for the director of the new adult literacy center, turn down the position for myself.
- Clean out the basement.
- Organize the upstairs closet.
- Plant tomatoes.
And somewhere along the way, that clarity, that edged-ness I thought I had come to -- the sure boon of convalescence -- conscious wellness -- knowing what is and feeling myself thrumming to the deep vibe -- all of it but the echo now fallen away, slipped out of rhyme, unravelling into the ordinary scattered day-to-day. Which is nice enough . . .
But as busy-ness filters back in -- everything muddies over more and more.
Is it this way for you? . . . when you've been ill, then well -- out of it, then suddenly back in. Don't you feel yourself at first warm in that blessed square of sunshine from a winter window, strength flowing back into your being like some hyper-actual ichor, some sweet sap? And more than physical strength, spiritual, mental clarity. Seeing at last the path up the mountain and knowing there is strength and awareness enough in you to get there.
And are you ever able to establish this knowing as a lasting foundation?
This time, this time I was going to dwell in that Good Place forever after. I wasn't going to forget how enlivening to fill lungs full with air. How perfect sunrise is. I wasn't going to forget where I was. Here, on this earth, growing out of this teeming soil.
"Does anybody still check in on Imaginary Bicycle?" asked Fritz last weekend.
" . . . occasionally. Yes. Here and there."
"What do they say?" he comes to look over my shoulder where I am writing something else.
"I don't know. We miss you. Where are you? I hope you're okay. Variations of."
"Maybe I should get on and leave a comment."
"Really? And what would you say?" I ask him.
"Where are you? Are you okay? We miss you."
"You goon. You know where I am."
But all week I notice how I am losing peace and clarity in a muddying low-level irritable simmer.
When I squeeze time to stop by for a quick visit to my in-laws, always so happy for company though we see them every day, they say, "Here sit down and visit awhile -- you're not busy."
But I am, I am.
When I set out for a fully scheduled day, the food bank calls, "Say, can you come in today? Hooper's got the flu."
And by evening . . . having juggled commitments around so I could work stocking shelves, filling boxes, weighing donated produce. By evening . . . after getting caught in a sudden storm on my way home in the afternoon, thoroughly soaked by great lollopping dollops of rain, so big I can feel them rolling from the top of my crown, down around the curve of my head and deep inside my collar and having to stop dry off at the in-law's with all my clothes dripping and sticking to me and meanwhile scrubbing out their apartment from room to room. That evening . . . having shopped and biked two panniers of groceries up the hill home . . . I am at last so visibly tired that my daughters send me to bed, "Oh, Mom, you look dead," allowing only a short stop-off for a hot soak.
Ahh . . I have just filled up the tub and opened a paperback archaeology/ mystery when someone calls to remind me, "Shopping tonight for summer camp? There's that sale on cereal."
I almost cry. But I go.
And come back and sit with the children as they eat dinner late. Then read Farmer Boy aloud as they do dishes. And end somehow with YoungSon in my lap (all 9 years of his long-leggedness) listening to "Froggy went a-courtin'" on a CD . . . and then the song after that . . . and the song after that . . . and . . .
"Aren't you getting bored?" I ask him. "Just sitting on your old mom's lap listening to kiddie songs?"
"Oh no. I like this. And besides we never do this." He turns and tries to snuggle into the remembered comfort from when my lap was a more spacious haven for his smaller self.