Monday, November 28, 2011


I Am Losing My Bloom.

Not of youth. That patina was rubbed off several years ago, not by a specific number of accumulated years but by my children, who are determined to make permanent the hint of red in the whites of my eyes.

No. My current loss of bloom concerns writing. The voices in my head are getting quieter and quieter because I listen to them so rarely. They are annoyed with me. They've almost given up. They whispered the other day, in the car, “Yes, we were concerned at the lack of specificity in the cartographer's directions. Most of were concerned. Those of us who spent our time looking down at the ground were concerned, but those of us who more often looked up at the trees felt no worry.” I know, it's not much, but it was mine and it was singing until... someone asked if we could get pizza for dinner. And then someone else asked for cd 2, song 4, which happened to be that mining song by the Decemberists that I really loved until we played it for the 459th time – two months ago.

My purse used to be littered with scraps of paper. Important scraps of paper with ideas written on them. Now my purse is just littered. On my computer I used to have several documents open and active and each one would be visited every day and added to a little bit. I still have several documents open in various stages of completion; some of them bordering on late, most of them bordering on boring.

Is this a phase? Does everyone go through a time in their lives when they fail to work at what they love the most? And how does one end the phase? I've tried booze, I've tried Mozart, I've tried candlelit tubs. It's no use.

Patience, I suppose. Patience and distraction. I try hard not to look too closely at the problem, and that's pretty easy since life is full of peanut butter jelly sandwiches, shirts on backwards, those bills that come every month, salted caramels and earaches. Maybe the voices will return full strength in the spring. Which is tough, since, despite the snow on the ground, it isn't even winter yet.

Maybe I just have to listen more closely. Shhhhh.....

It used to be that there were more lazy sundays, those special do-nothing days of the Calvin and Hobbes variety. The apartment and the surroundings may have changed—not to mention the addition of children and pets--but the music has remained the same. Once upon a time Sinatra was the soundtrack to our sundays. Sometimes there was Ella or Hartman, sometimes Baker or Etta, but the sounds from the stereo always went down like a smooth drink that warmed or cooled depending on the weather. Now that it's November the days are looking a bit grey and we're starting to gear up for the beginning of the holiday season. In the face of the chaos that is to come, our teenager spent the afternoon at a friend’s and the grown-ups took the day off.

Blossom Dearie was the clear choice today. She's one of my favorites, I think I feel a connection to those big glasses she's wearing on the cover of the CD. I love her easy, carefree lyrics, which are the perfect upbeat accompaniment to waffle-making, knitting and hand holding. As much as I wanted to cross off all of the items on my mammoth to-do list, I resisted. Still, it seemed to be sitting there, mocking me, growing and expanding every time I turned my eyes away. It haunts me. Yet I wonder, when will I learn that you can only push so far before you break and snap?

M is often after me to take it easy; to rest, relax, enjoy. And I try, I really do. Every time I manage to slough off that ten-ton bit of baggage I've been carrying, I am amazed at how much I enjoy myself and I begin to love life again. I had this idea recently that maybe, just maybe “growing” isn't enough. Could it be that we need more than the basics: food, water and shelter? How much do we need to feel a connection, to be with someone that we can just be ourselves, our ugly selves if need be, to really thrive? Maybe being in a relationship of any kind that is honest and sincere is where we start to show our true selves--our best selves—which allows us to blossom and shine. Given those connections and that intimacy, what we produce and are capable of creating can be heartbreakingly beautiful. I think of those sunflowers I admired this summer and how they would turn their heads toward the sky and just drink it all in. I know (though that knowledge may be buried somewhere deep inside me) that a decent rest can rejuvenate you just the same. “Go, go, go!” doesn’t always have to be the mantra.

Unfortunately we won't see the sun much for the next few months, the days are getting shorter. Much to my dismay I find that my energy runs out so much faster at this time of year. In the summer it often feels like I can go on forever. Now words like “dormant” and “hibernation” trip off the tongue. Really those are just a way of describing a longer rest, cause in the scheme of things Spring is only a season away. We just have to get through the snow that will inevitably bury us several times over this Winter. I don't mind the snow, it's the sun I miss most. On those days when I feel depleted, M will remind me of all we have to look forward to come Spring and how we'll rejoice when we finally see the leaves budding on the trees. He'll also remind me how much I love being cosy in these snow-covered months, and that it really is the best time to knit, curl up with a good book; and that icicles, snowmen and hot cocoa will begin to make their long awaited appearances. As much as I fuss, I can't begin to imagine a year without them.

No matter the time of day, the time of year, or how he's feeling, M never fails to perk me up when I need it most. He supports those crazy out-of-this-world goals and dreams of mine. When I whisper ever so faintly how much I love baking and taking photographs he is the one who hears the quiet longing of my heart. And when I (finally) get up the courage to make those passions a bigger part of my life I know he'll be there with open arms to clap for me or pick me up when I fall.

In the words of our gal Blossom, “I'm glad that I'm the one who found you. That's why I'm always hangin' round you. Do I love you? Oh my, do I. Honey, indeed I do.”

Next Week's Final Word: Afraid


  1. Thank you for this. Both posts really resonate, especially on this frantic, grey, cheerless Monday morning. Let's try to keep faith that there will be sun and spring and words like honey, flowing.

    I can't believe there's only one more to go. I'm afraid of what comes after that... :-(

  2. Andi- I can remember when I mused about getting up at 4 in the morning to grab a little time for myself free from the sticky clutches of three boys. It was a fallow field, really. The only art I did were obsessive sketches of sick children. It never failed that someone was at home sick on my studio day, and I would have to do my drawings of the boy at hand, complete with petulant facial expression and fuggy breath. Think of it as a tunnel with a bend in it so that you can't see the light until you're nearly out. Keep making useless notes and stuffing them in a box or your purse. Be satisfied with just accumulating these things, and don't read over them now. Later you can sift through and you will be surprised at what you find there. I have faith in you! You are already great! This blog is a treasure trove for you in the future.