It’s been a rough week. Almost every day, I woke up in a funky mood that nothing could stir, not even running five miles when I intended on running four. Not the fact that the countdown towards graduation has gone through another cycle of ten days which means I get to change the ten digit and not just the ones. I’ve just been in a bit of a funk.
Today, it finally lifted and my head raised and the joy of life that usually infects or affects most of what I do came back. I passed papers back to my first block and the papers that had no name, I balled up and threw over my shoulder. When a student was nice and picked up the paper balls and returned them to me, I threw them at him. Next thing I know, I had a paper ball war for two minutes. It was brilliant. The laughter was everywhere and faces that had originally been strained and unhappy were relaxed while smiles crested the exhaustion.
Life is good.
No…life is beautiful.
For the last hour and a half, I have been at church, practicing the songs for the Saturday night service. Because I sing with a group of three people total, the stage fright and anxiety is shoved into my knees and I focus only on the words, on what they mean. I love it when I actually know a song and just close my eyes and release myself to nothing more than the harmony and the real sense of praising and worshipping God. Sometimes, I’ll look out the window and sing to the sky that is perforated by the pine trees. No, I’m not friggin worshipping the trees and sky, you doofus. I just see them as a metaphors or symbols for God. I don’t see God in a building; I see Him in the world itself. People made buildings. God made the Earth.
As I sit here and reflect on the funk of the week and the various things which pulled me out of the funk, my family is inside, running around the house, chasing one another and laughing. My daughter is shouting for her big brother, the Boy, to help her chase down their father, my beloved rotten snake corpse, who is currently acting like an evil menace. They have been eating popcorn while watching The Simpsons and obviously the show has concluded because now it is chase, tackle, and wrestle time. The Boy is making weird grunting sounds and my husband is speaking with a coaxing tone to my daughter….she must be trying to pin the Boy.
Here on the front porch, my world is quasi-blinded by the light emanating from the computer. It has burned my corneas/eyes just enough that when I raise them from the screen and focus on the sky, I have a dual horizon of the real sky and the bleached line of light that is pulsating in my eyes. But it is not enough to diminish the one star that has burned itself into the fabric of the night sky and pulsates however many millions of light years away. At this point, I am humbled that I am looking at light that may or may not even exist at this point.
The sense of being worn has lifted from my shoulders and I feel that incredible sense of relief. Driving home from church, I lowered my car’s windows a couple of inches, turned on the jazz radio program on my local NPR station, and followed the road as it wound through the landscape of beautiful, modern houses set against the primitive reality of the forest that still exists despite humanity’s encroachments. At one point, I barely made out the shape of a doe grazing just outside the forest’s limits and I immediately slowed not just because where one deer stands means another five or more are hiding. But because I loved the incredible, simple beauty of the deer as she nibbled on grass without thought of the modern world that has paved its way into her habitat.
Letting go of the numbness that was just paralyzing my happiness this week does not result in a polarizing surge of joy. It just means that I feel like breathing is not an exercise or a forced action. At this moment, my world swings in its normal orbit and I am at peace with the everything and nothing that surrounds me. Something, whether it’s small toads, frogs, or crickets, is singing its harmony and counterpoint harmony to its various mates and I just happen to be fortunate to stand witness to this chorus of life and love.
The school year is collapsing on itself and my beloved seniors are stretching their hands even more voraciously at the allure of graduation. Next week, they are going to come to school in their graduation attire including the formal clothing and the caps and gowns as they attend the first of many senior events which is nothing more than another part of the chains of good-byes. Next week, the cords that I have formed with these wonderful individuals will begin to be severed and I will soon be standing to the side as they go forth and conquer the world.
When this happens, I will seek my solace and my joy on my front porch swing. My dog will come and rest his head on my lap and I will distractedly pet him until he goes and rest in his crate. The Ugly-Cat will jump into my lap, deliberately step on my computer’s keys to distract me and force me to pet her until she’ll finally curl up in my lap, thereby ending any writing I might have attempted to do or she’ll go to her bowl for a quick bite of food before the dog chases her off the porch. Because no one can eat except him…and me…and the other humans who matter. But not the cat. Never the cat.
My porch swing is where I would like to say I’m from. But that is to deny my love of Germany or my sense of identity confusion. In the end, my porch swing is where I hide from the world even if I am at the edge of the stage and everyone can see me. It is my home. It is my world. It is my throne upon the world.
And it’s where I invite only those whom I love the most to come and join me.
The seat next to me is open….