Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Resolutions, A Blue Funk, and the Plague

February 5, 2013 – Resolutions, A Blue Funk, and the Plague

I catch the Plague over the holidays. I’m sure it’s because I made the severe mistake of saying aloud something like: “I won’t get sick because my hyperactive immune system is already on high alert and kills off anything that comes in.” I even said this more than once giving fate, the universe, vindictive gods or opportunistic germs a challenge they (it) just couldn’t resist. Combined with the expended energy from all our Christmas Cheer and the transition to living with my brother and his family in small town Texas I’m hanging close-fistedly to the end of my rope. I spin my misery into a tight spool and store it inside my skin. I try not to let either the Plague or my Blue Funk spread like a pandemic. What I’d like to do is crawl into a dark, warm hole and hibernate for an indefinite period of time. What I actually do is run through the motions of life. I get up in the mornings, I make my bed, I get dressed, I play with the niece, I eat, I drink copious amounts of tea, I have conversations, I try to write, I pick up after myself, after the niece, after the siblings and my sibling-in-law. 

My older sister Jesse has come down with us to spend a few weeks here in small town Texas before heading back to Dallas and then on to Argentina for her next adventure, and she keeps doing projects; planting a bottle garden, clearing vines off the back fence, chopping down trees, planting other trees, and cleaning; the kitchen, the floors, the kitchen ceiling fan, the bathroom, the carport, she even finds time to do her morning exercises and meditations. Next to her I feel like the bum that I am.

I spend a lot of time in the rocking chair on the outside patio with my coat zipped up to my chin, a book in hand, and one eye keeping the niece in sight. “I should help with something,” I say or think. But the energy required for standing doesn’t spark down the neurons from my brain to my legs. “I’ll just sit here a bit longer,” I say or think.

The days freeze into each other. Time passes and I don’t have anything to show for it except for a few blogs and a handful of frustrating attempts to work on my novel. “Snap out of it,” I tell myself. “Drink some more tea. Eat some garlic. Stop your whining. Get to work. Tomorrow will be better.” I’m restless, sick, craving a routine that’s conducive to my work, and trying to be both helpful and fun. I’m not sure if I’m pulling off either.

On New Year’s Eve after we’ve all turned in for bed even before the ball has dropped in New York City, I pull the covers up over my head and turn on the flashlight I’ve borrowed from my brother. I’m not one for making resolutions, but I do like to make and achieve goals, I like to evaluate what I’ve done and see how to go about doing something even better. This past year will be hard to top. What a good ride that was. I’ve had the kind of year people dream about. The kind of year that amazed even me with its incredibility.

What if I can’t top it? I wonder.

What if I can? my optimism speaks up with a grin.

I smile. I hover my pen over my notebook. What would I like to do this upcoming year? Where do I want to go? Who do I want to become? What do I want to create? The bedspread tents off my head and the light from the flashlight turns soft where it hits the blanket. In this magical spot I forget about limitations. Money isn’t an issue. Health isn’t a problem. The sky isn’t even the limit; there’s an infinity of space and time. The Plague will eventually go away, my Blue Funk will evaporate in the sun, and my goals may change as I figure out the answers to my own questions. But, you know, that’s the glory of this transient life.

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