6:40am and I've pulled furniture from the wall and crawled through 4+ years of dust. I can feel it sticking to my palms, my arms, the back of my neck. My left hand is completely coated in the drab grey wonderfluff that is Hazel's hair, unvacuumed corner crud, and spider waste. I'm fumbling through the power cords, flashlight clenched in the crook between my neck and shoulder, swearing like a sailor in my favorite black nightgown - the one with the lace about the edges...which is now furry. *shudder*
There it is. I snag the cord and pull it from its socket. I count...28, 29, 30. Pushing the shiny silver prong back in, I wiggle out from where dust bunnies go to perish and sit disheveled and disgruntled on the floor watching the cable box whir back to life. Perhaps it was over-heated or over-worked or over-everything. Scrambled. Debilitated. Like some long forgotten magician's trick, there was a flash of light and the flicker of two-dimensional company joined me in the duskiness of dawn, rattling on about predicted weather and expected rainfall.
And it occurred to me (not a crash of thunder occurrence, more like a dribbling faucet of realization), that I am that cable box. I feel a bit scrambled, off-center, slightly broken. The electronic universe we are surrounded by - when something goes amiss, it needs a reboot. Not for just a moment, this will require time, some counting, and possibly a little breath-holding. A pause to let the circuits reset and the wiring cool down.
I need to unplug. So if you notice I'm missing, trust me - it's not you, it's me. I'm going to clear my calendar for bit. Make room to read something other than a list, sit in the sun and think a while. Just for think's sake.
The world is sleeping. A side effect of my husband traveling so much is the loosening of my grip upon time. My fingers are unlaced, detached. Reflexive clock watching has been replaced with distraction and sudden paranoid moments when I fear I've forgotten something immensely important. The days bleed into evening and I've lost track of their passing. Often I climb into bed after the boys do, exhaustion giving in to the call of soft sheets and a novel; but I'm also becoming rather familiar with this 3am discussion held beneath the blackened sky - wind and clouds and night murmurs.
My hair tangles about my shoulders as thunder stumbles across the heavens and the cat claws at the door behind me. I ignore him. Sitting on the top step of the back porch, I lean into the storm - huge and dark and somehow bigger than the one in my mind, dwarfing my fears and insecurities until they are the pebbles beneath the deluge. Washed clean of detritus and debris, the rain rinses away the clamor of the day. How is it that mere drops of water can be so deafening, so all-encompassing?
I'm painting now. More than I have in years. I agreed to fill in for a canceled slot in a local museum's line-up and then realized I was committing to nearly a new, completely finished painting every week. Sheer madness. Last night I dreamt I was painting trees that fell off the canvas and sprouted at my feet, their roots tangling about my legs until I couldn't move. I've done the shopping with paint in my hair, picked up the children with paint on my face. I smell of paint.
I miss writing. Like air. Like cheese. The night thoughts are scribbles in legal pads stacked beside my bed, waiting to be decoded, untangled into complete sentences with punctuation and capital letters. They whisper to me sometimes, echoes behind the music while my brush smears pigment into visions.
Just a few weeks now. Wiring and naming (seriously, naming a painting is a calamity of my dreams where it was born - a thing of feelings and emotions that is quite difficult to distil into a word or two) and stacking them on the landing outside of my bedroom until they will be driven to the gallery and strung up for all to see....and judge.
The storm has moved on now. I can see lightening etching new patterns over another sky, another life off in the distance. Perhaps God is laundering the world leaving night thoughts everywhere damp and shiny and clean.
It's 12:27am January 1st, 2017. I stood outside for 20 minutes listening to the firework thunder and echoes of enthusiastic lungs laughing as they shouted into the night. A new year...what exactly does that mean beyond the turning of the calendar, the passing of a date? The air was crisp and pure and smelled of Spring four months away, snow and ice guaranteed to coat the world until then. My heart longs for warmth but is astounded at how quickly this season seems to be passing.
I'm now curled in bed with feet tucked beneath the down comforter, Hazel on the floor at my side, and the boys left gaming in the basement with a 2am curfew - even now their laughter ricochets up through the ancient ductwork and faintly ripples in the air. Jase slumbers beneath the covers (he's fighting an early winter head cold I am fervently hoping he does not share) and the Twilight Zone classic marathon paints my bedroom with wavering black and white shadows.
This year had a different list. Older birthdays and boys learning to drive. A position that has massive promise but that took my husband away for weeks at a time on a regular basis. A book published. Paintings finished. I resigned. These notes on a list look different but the year felt...hard. How does life feel? Does your year spill across your mind in a list like mine does? A series of triumphs and failures, laughter and sorrow? The boys are nearly men and the dog no longer a puppy and I find the lines about my eyes are faintly deeper. I sleep less (who knew three hours could be enough?) and dream vivid dreams that make my husband laugh out loud with their absurdity.
A new year. A human year. Right now, my bedroom draped in flickers of grey, I am promising myself to feel it. To taste and laugh and cry and rage. The wind rattled my window just now, promising a storm before dawn. I turn off the light and watch the branches dance beneath the stars.