It's hard to tell what's a consequence of age and what's a consequence of The Age, these days. Do you feel me?
For example, do I want to complain to you about the lonely life of a self-employed Summer Worker in extended Wintertime Pose, yet fear the disclosure because:
A: I have a deep fear of your judgement caused by the onset of middle age,
or B: I have a deep fear of your judgement because it's 2018, and judgement has become the air we breathe through these screens?
Writing to strangers used to be easier.
A lot of things (getting out of bed, putting on clothes, taking my dog to the woods, reading the news) used to be easier. I sound awful, don't I.
Self-employment is beautiful, and its blessings abound, but like winter it leaves you alone a lot. I am a person who has always been intensely self-critical, which is a delicate way of saying that I often, somewhat unknowingly, hate myself, hate on myself, and cannot be satisfied when left alone with myself.
Every winter I think: Here's an opportunity to heal this critical disjuncture. Here's space to get down to the project of Health. I buy watercolors and run baths sometimes; I clean and try to write. I make dates with friends and make lists I can check off. I think about meditating, how good it is when I do it, how much a part of my identity it is, even in its absence, how a perfect version of myself would sit right now - and then I go watch Bob's Burgers.
Props to Bob's Burgers.
The truth of the matter is that for me, the best of my happiness comes swiftly and vibrantly when my body is dissolved in necessary activity. When there is a weed to be pulled, when I'm covered with an envelope of sweat, gritted with soil, when there's a large leaf embedded in the flesh of my knee, a bee in my hair, when things are needing doing. I'm a conduit for Doing: the most fluid form of meditation I can imagine. In the months of that Doing I sleep properly; I don't worry about whether my friends or my dog really love me; I have muscles with a job to do; and moreover I feel flush and rich in a way I always should/always am.
So I went to the woods today, with this dog who surely loves me, and the silent sky poured this belated, unwanted, beautiful, perfect snow down on us. There were ecto-green lichens and purple vines, a tremendous rush of water in the creek. Ducks and deer. Tiny buds on the honeysuckle. I sang Joanna Newsom songs really loud in my puffy coat; Djuna peed on everything. We were blessed with it, even if it wasn't what we wanted.
On the way home, I checked out the garden. It's a sad scene over there, at first glance, embarrassing and ugly. It's like my whole life of chastising litterbugs has come back to bite me in the face. The place is covered with refuse. A tiny plastic Christmas tree is tangled in the dead sage, next to a caramel apple lollipop wrapper. Coupons and soda cans and a trashed trash can itself. When I open the gate, I make sure no one sees me, so I can't be accosted for allowing this winter to degrade me/us so.
But then I look closer, and see that the tulips are all rising up out of the soil, heaving it around and unfurling their strange little bodies. New leaves on the lady's mantle push aside the old rotten ones. Sedum lifts its pocky faces, smilingly. And all the tiny fronds of yarrow, orlaya, nigella, and poppies just beg for sun to reward their nascent efforting.
So lemme do some nascent efforting, too, I guess. First I'm going to sit by this fireplace a little more, going to keep pouting because there's always something to pout about, and then, if I can just get 8 more degrees of warmth out of this goddamn barren sky, I'll go rake up that trash.