Groundhog Day

Yeah. Groundhog Day isn’t actually for another month. But today felt like an emergence. An outcoming. Not an awakening. Just a digging out of the sandy turf. Raising my head above the surface and looking around.

What is lurking within the shadows? Only more shadows. A one-dimensional, gray figure. A bit of smoke within the sunlight. A touch of nothing. A solitary quiet. Just nothing.

Nothing.

Just old ferns that hold onto the luminescence of last year’s sunshine that we couldn’t find, couldn’t agree actually existed, that were tucked into an embankment beside creeks still swollen from yesterday’s rain.

I blinked at the sandy, gravel path. Felt my feet flat on the surface. I felt my place. Felt the nothing and somnolence of a world that is still transfigured by a pandemic and an election that just won’t end. But I felt the security of my feet in my hiking boots that were not used enough last year and I felt the promise of this year’s hikes. Felt the promise of this year.

I am not so optimistic to think that the Covid vaccine is the end-all-be-all that will utterly end the virus and its stranglehold on the earth. My rosy-colored glasses are not so high up on my nose that I can’t see over them. I know that things are going to change immediately. I know that most of what I want to go away or end is far beyond my ability to pretend that I can control.

All I have is my shadow.

I have been turning over mental rocks recently. Looking at the undersides and blanching at the slime, the crusty mold. I dig my hands into the water and grip the rock, wiggle it loose from its muddy grip and where it has welled into the loamy soil and sucking sand. Prying it forth, sand and dirt plume from the cavity left behind. A flash of movement. And then. Nothing.

Just me. And my rock. This hard, weighty neuroses. This mistake. This twenty pound weight that I carried on my back or across my shoulders. Or in the darkness of my head.

I spend so much of my time. No. I waste so much of my time just questioning. I swear, the interior of my head is an origami fortune teller. Or maybe a magic eight-ball. Or just a hollow crystal ball with a big crack in it.

But I am wondering how it is that I am utterly focused on the possible mud or the answers under the flaps or the answers that will float to the surface or the crack that really.

Just.

Don’t.

Matter.

Because. Right now. I am finding that I have been so focused on the crack and the missing answers that I have forgotten the beauty of the ferns. Or the moment when I can just touch the water and feel the rock and its cool edges as the water blushes around my hands and spills downstream.

Today is my Groundhog Day. Today is my time to peek above the surface and see what surrounds me and see it for the blessing that it is. Today is my time to walk and hike and spend time with friends and binge Chinese food and watch funny television. And then, just when I feel like I am too exhausted to do more, I pull up my computer and write this blog. And then I’ll edit two pages on Polishing. And edit one of the reasons on the book I wrote for my parents.

I am taking ownership over the shadows that I have been frightened of. I am taking ownership over the rocks that I have feared because of what was underneath. I am taking ownership over me. And who I want to be. And how I want to be that person. I need to reaquaint myself with my shadow and the origami in my mind and the world I love and have not been within. And in doing so, maybe, I will soothe the questions, accept the answers. Or find new questions to ask.

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