Slip Sliding Away

I woke up to the shock of realizing this is the last day of July. One more month of summer and we’re downhill to that most awful time of year: winter.

This past week has been crazy busy. The things I need to do, that need to get done, are competing with all the other things that need to be done. I have been carrying around letters from my doctor’s office reminding me that July is the month I need to go in for an annual exam and mammogram.

Oops.

I’ve been too busy mowing and fixing my a/c unit and my car and, well…..

Cup your hands and dip them in a pool of water. A water of days. Lift them up slowly. You are holding summer. The days are already slipping through the cracks between your fingers, aren’t they? Is there anything left now? No? How long did that take? A couple seconds? Yeah. Fuck. Summer’s waning and fast.

And because this fall will be even busier with kids in middle and high school and all that marching band requires, I’m going to have to break down the garden (which I haven’t even visited since Monday! Because I haven’t been home before dark since then.) early this year. Pull everything up, add the compost that’s just been SITTING THERE all summer mocking me because I’ve been nothing but completely negligent, plant some cover crop seed and let everything percolate until March. I won’t have time for it. My brussel sprout seeds have done zilch and that might be just as well. I’m not sure I’ll have time to tend them once school begins.

I inhaled in June and I’m afraid to let that breath out for fear of what might happen. You know what happens to a balloon when you let the air out.

Touchstones

Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, just posted this on Facebook: “We are all works in progress. We are all rough drafts.” This is very true. I am a work in progress. Not perfect but moving in a direction away from negativity and forward to positivity. Some days the steps are too small to see. Maybe if I was walking in sand I’d be able to tell. Other days, the steps are giant and I am almost crushed by them. “Friends” get angry that I am ignoring their negative, angry, combative posts, accusing me of being the negative one despite the fact that I recently quit disagreeing with them and moved on. Which rankled, apparently.

I’m sorry but I don’t need that in my life anymore. If I’m the most negative friend you had? All the others must be Zen Buddhists or angels at Jesus’s left elbow or something. I’m working hard to not react to things in a knee-jerk way. I’m staying out of fights, not getting worked up about politics, stepping out of the fray. I can’t seem to say the things people want me to say so I say nothing. Which is also incorrect? Oh well. Let it be wrong. I’m a rough draft. I’m gonna do it wrong.

After having a door slammed in my face that was already closed (in my mind) – remember being a teenager and storming up to your room after a fight with your mom and slamming and reslamming the door just so the message got across? Yeah; that. – I went back to TAW and reread some of the tasks I did last winter.

I found a list of Touchstones I’d written. These are things that make you happy. I thought I’d share them if only as a way to remind myself that I *am* growing and changing and letting go of the bad angry past. Which doesn’t mean I’m perfect. I’ll never be that. I’ll probably always bitch and complain about something now and then. But I am working on being aware of things that annoy me and probably shouldn’t.

So, here they are, in no order whatsoever:

*Morning fog over the pastures.
*The trilling of cicadas.
*The smell of basil, rosemary, anything lemon-scented (real lemon, not chemical lemon).
*The moon – full, crescent, waxing, waning.
*River rocks
*Water of any kind – ocean, river, stream, pond, pool, bath.
*The beach
*Doughnuts, cake, pizza, wine, beer, guacamole, chocolate, avocados, tomatoes.
*A garden – vegetables, herbs, flowers.
*Bees and butterflies
*Naps
*Solitude
*Cats
*A quiet spot in the woods.
*Woodpeckers
*Spotting rabbits or deer in the wild.
*Hearing crows communicate with each other.
*Watching a squirrel eat an acorn.
*Warm sun on my skin.
*My children’s laughter.

What are some of yours?

Brain Dump

Right Brain: I had the weirdest dream last night.

Left Brain: This morning.

RB: What?

LB: This morning. You had it right before waking up, right?

RB: Yeah…

LB: Then it was morning. A.M.

RB: Whatever. Can I tell it to you?

LB: Will it take long? Because we have a shitload of stuff to do still.

RB: It’s almost 8:30pm! Ten minutes. Can you give me ten minutes of your precious time?

LB: Sigh. Okay. Ten minutes. But it’s getting dark. We need to bring the guinea pig in. And the cake will be done soon.

RB: TEN MINUTES.

LB: Hurry up.

RB: Okay, so I had this dream that I was taking out a splinter from my big toe….

LB: [yawns] Uh huh?

RB: Jesus. Can you at least PRETEND you’re interested? It’s actually not boring.

LB: Can you give me just a sec? I really need to bring the guinea pig in. Sun’s going down. Oh, and did you hear that chewing noise in the walls last night? What the hell was that?

RB: Yes. I don’t know. We looked outside. With the flashlight. We checked both sides of the wall. Nothing! Can I just….

LB: Hang on! [Runs out to get guinea pig]

RB: Ooh, the sky is nice. The clouds are interesting. This is the first night it hasn’t rained in ages!

LB: We need to mow the back tomorrow. Before it rains again. Look, he ate all the clover in his pen. He likes clover. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could put wheels on the pen and motorize it so it’d slowly work its way across the yard like a guinea pig Roomba or something? We’d never have to mow the back yard again.

RB: We aren’t that smart. No tools.

LB: Sigh. You’re right. Oh shit! The cake! [checks cake] 5 more minutes. Remind me – five more minutes.

RB: Can I finish my thought?

LB: Who’s stopping you?

RB: You are.

LB: Sorry. What were we talking about? Oh, we should find the blue paint for the bookshelf. Did we measure it? Where should it go?

RB: OMG shut up for a second! My dream! My splinter!

LB: Okay…. [thinks about the cake, the bookshelf, the paint, marching band, August calendar, how long to wait for cake to cool before icing can be spread on it…] Go ahead. Your dream.

RB: Yes. I dreamed I had a splinter in my big toe. I didn’t even know it was there. I hadn’t felt it. No pain – you know how usually you can feel it in there? It’s sore when you touch it or put pressure on it? I don’t even know how I know it was even in there. I pulled it out and it was an entire toothpick! Inches long! I couldn’t figure out how it’d even fit in my big toe much less how I’d never known it was there. Isn’t that weird? How your body can have something in it that you aren’t even aware of? How I should have felt it? It should have caused me pain, but didn’t?

LB: Cake! [pulls cake out of oven.] Ten minutes to cool. Remind me: ten minutes.

RB: It’s weird, it’s like life. There are things in your life that should cause pain, or maybe they do, but you’re so used to them that you don’t even feel them anymore. They’re ‘normal’ to you.

LB: Oh, so you’re going to turn this into a metaphor now?

RB: I just think it’s interesting. I mean, for years, I went around thinking that my life, the way I respond to things, the way I thought love was….totally normal! Or, not normal, but….how do you know what’s normal? It’s a head scratcher. I don’t even know what love is anymore. Apart from the love I feel for my children. Romantic love, I mean. I don’t understand people who have been able to have these amazing long term relationships work. They still love each other, care for each other, forgive each other. How does that work?

LB: Has it been ten minutes? Because I really want some cake before we watch Fargo.

RB: Should we really eat while we’re watching that? Last night’s episode was pretty gross.

LB: Cake! Chocolate cake! Just look away when the butchery begins.

RB: Yes, but don’t you wonder if we’ll ever find another person to love? Who will love us?

LB: How did you get from a splinter in your toe (a dream splinter in a dream toe) to love? English majors. Good grief. Can you stay with me a minute?

RB: What if we never find anyone? What if we’re alone for the rest of our lives?

LB: How is that bad? Look at all we’re getting done while we’ve been alone this summer!

RB: Don’t you miss….certain aspects?

LB: Well, yeah, but do you really want to share space with someone again? I mean, what if they make fun of how you do things or put down your taste in music?

RB: Let’s not talk about those people. We aren’t friends with them anymore. We don’t associate with haters. Remember? We’ve sloughed off people who aren’t good for us.

LB: What if we meet someone who’s really great, good looking, good in bed, great cook, sweet and kind and thoughtful and…..they like the Grateful Dead? Or country music? Or won’t go anywhere without his dog? Or insist on frying up bacon every morning?

RB: Cart before the horse. The cake smells good.

LB: Has it been ten minutes?

RB: I don’t know. Let’s ice it anyway. I need cake.

LB: Do we have to wash the pans tonight? Because I’ve already done the dishes. Twice.

RB: Leave them until tomorrow. Let’s eat cake!

LB: Sounds like a plan.

RB: I had a dream once about cake…..

LB: Please. No.

RB: I’ll tell you about it later when we’re awake at 2:00am and can’t get back to sleep.

LB: That’s when I make my best lists!

RB: You are no fun.

LB: You’re welcome.

RB: But seriously, what was in the walls making that chewing noise last night? Should we be worried?

LB: Probably. I’ll add it to the list of things to worry about when we’re up later.