"Every quiet step is thunder to beetle life underfoot, a tug of impalpable thread on the web pulling mate to mate and predator to prey, a beginning or an end. Every choice is a world made new for the chosen." Barbara Kingsolver, Prodigal Summer.
I just finished this book last night. It was a summer re-read that I took in slowly and deliciously. The first time I read it was the summer of 2005. Byron and I had just completed a road trip move from Annapolis, Maryland to Austin, Texas. We didn't quite know how to process the Texas heat (even though we both grew up in the Deep South). We were living in the saddest, darkest, cave-like apartment in a complex on a major street in town. It was surrounded by gas stations and pawn shops and pay-day loan centers. I remember my heart feeling so heavy with regret for the life we left behind...a land full of summertime abundance of echniacea, black-eyed susans, yarrow, the brackish waters of the Chesapeake Bay, sweet colonial row houses, window boxes overflowing with petunias and pansies, and brick-paved streets.
What I remember most as being the highlight of my summer was Prodigal Summer and the apartment complex pool. Those two saved my sanity that summer.
That was 8 years ago. Things - life - improved. The memory has a way of dulling our past. For better or worse. We adapted to our new life and even discovered endearing qualities to love about our new home.
Fast forward to the present.
The grasses in the lot across the street from our house are seeding. Their unassuming whispy seed heads are just magical to me - especially in the morning light. I don't know enough about grasses to determine if these are native and beneficial or invasive and threatening. Whatever they are, they inspired me to dust off my camera, which has sat on my desk all summer, to try to capture their brave attempt at procreating during the most brutally hot and dry time of the year.
Remember my post from a few weeks back? About how tired I was of trying to get it all right? I don't know what is going on with me? Maybe my whole being is leaning forward, forging through some sort of growth spurt. I can't really put it into words but my heart feels so tender and raw these days. Like I'm starting a brand new journey that I know nothing about. In order to survive, I must trim the fat of everything that leaves me scattered and distracted. Which means, I can't seem to surround myself with enough unconditional love and simple, yet meaningful interactions.
A couple of weeks ago, I did something I've wanted to do for a really long time. I deactivated my Facebook account. I'm off. I know it sounds trivial... you know, getting off of Facebook. But it was an area of my life which did not serve me. Yes, on a superficial level, I love that I was able to keep in touch with friends near and far through quick and easy messages or updates. But for a while now, I've felt completely drained by the habit of being in contact so frequently with so many. And if I didn't respond quick enough or articulately enough, guilt and paranoia set in over how I was perceived by others (selfish, unappreciative, lazy, not witty enough -- nothing positive). Not to mention the constant bombardment of links to articles and studies to read. All of which left me so distracted, and at times, hardly in touch with myself and my own intution.
So now, I am getting use to NOT KNOWING what the many people that I love and treasure are doing on a daily basis. I'm getting use to just wondering how they are ~ imagining what their own daily experiences may be like. And it feels good. Somehow, a lot more intimate and sincere. As if I am giving my heart a real opportunity to conciously think good thoughts about them. Instead of instantly knowing. Sometimes I think what my spirit truly needs is an open and free opportunity to just wonder and not to know, to not seek the answer.
I hope my disconnect eventually translates into more good ole fashion emails sent to friends. And who knows, I don't want to get too ambitious too quickly, but wow, wouldn't it be nice to get into a habit of writing an honest to goodness letter from time to time. Once upon a time, I use to love to write letters. As a child, my best friend and I would write letters to each in the summertime (even though we only lived 5 minutes away from each other). In college I'd write letters to my mom and grandma often and they did the same to me. One of my most treasured possessions is a rubbermaid storage container full of handwritten mementos from my past.
So these days, I just find myself so desperate for alone time. Not from my family, per se, but from the outside world and things that don't feel me up. And yes, I know this blog is an outlet to the outside world, but it's different from the instant, constant noise of social media and iPhones. Blog posts can't happen unless I make an intentional effort to sit at my desk, put my fingers to the keyboard and write. And writing (even in my "dear diary" sort of way) always helps to restore some balance to my days.
There you have it. Growing is all about taking baby steps, right?