I was reading about my old dog, Abe, and the way he used to wake me up every morning and lick my face, asking me to either get up or move over so that he could crawl in bed with us. He was a big dog and took up as much space as me, if not more. God, I miss him. I read about my days in the country--about getting up early to endless silence and the crunch of fresh snow under my feet; of knowing my place in the world without the need to take up much space; about looking out my window, thinking about Gauguin and O'Keefe, writing and teaching, the taste of coffee, the shape of the moon. I miss that, too.
I also read through posts about falling asleep in a blanket of books and the never-ending reading that accompanied my first year of grad school. At the time I felt like I was just whining, a pathetic self-deprecating wimp...but reading it again, now that time has offered the balm of distance, I remember just how hard it was for me and am grateful to have successfully weathered that year's struggles in both my personal and academic life. But mostly I'm just sad that I struggled so much at all. Because if I could have my past back I would have stayed in bed and snuggled Abe longer. I would have gone for longer walks and added more cream to my coffee. I would have sat in my slippers writing 'til my heart's content. I would have written about every beating moment. Because now it's gone. And someday I'm afraid that I might read this and think the same thing.
But I might never feel as connected to a place as I did then. These days, I try hard to maintain connection. I get up in the dark of morning so that I will have time to take even the shortest of walks with Anu in the woods. Lately though, the walks seem to have gotten even shorter. Concern seems to have shifted from noticing the subtle nuances of magic to more immediate concerns of whether Anu's done her "business" so that I can get back home and finish getting ready for work. I love my job, but I feel the loss of time sharply. It's not just work that is making me feel this way, however. It is, more simply, the passage of time. And maybe it's not necessary to feel connected to every living, breathing moment of life. But I want to. Every single second is starting to feel so goddamned precious to me these days.
The animal job fell through. I've taken the floral job. Not because it's my dream job, but because I need something and it offers, at least, an opportunity to be creative. I keep thinking about my purpose in life right now. I also keep thinking about the way one thing leads to the next to the next to the next...and how sometimes you don't even what "the next" will be because the universe is much too complex and interesting to ever know anything for sure. And so sometimes you just put your faith in the small gaps of possibility and hope for the best.
I don't know. I guess when I started writing this I was thinking that I don't feel as connected to my life anymore. Maybe I've got it all backwards. All I know is that I've been in tears ever since the second paragraph of this post. And I should know by now that whenever that happens, it happens because I am connected. You know how when you have a really healthy body, you start feeling everything that your body has to say? Well, I'm not saying that my body is exactly healthy, but something about my state of being these days is making me so incredibly hyper-aware of everything...it is like watching a red leaf fall slowly,slowly,
to the ground.
I want my time to count. Because before I even realize that anything changed, it becomes little more than a memory...an ether of dog kisses and all those things that count for something real.
These days I just want to wrap life gently in my arms...ever so gently. Because, tonight, that is all I have the energy left for. And, Life, please be gentle on me in return.