Yesterday morning–Easter Sunday–I awoke at 3 a.m. armed with the mission to fill certain vessels in the house with contents that shall herein remain undisclosed lest little eyes peek over the shoulders of those reading at the computer. After completing this task, I attempted to go back to bed, but upon finding that unlikely to happen, I settled for trying to wrap up the 10-million-word-long post about chocolate cake that I’d been working on sporadically for the past week. I mean, isn’t that what everyone does at 3 am when they can’t get back to sleep? Yeah, I know. Probably not. I have issues.
The point is that three hours later, I realized that dawn was beginning to break. The animals were rousing themselves. My brother’s dog, Grace (who is in reality really named Grayson, but we wouldn’t be us if we didn’t provide a nickname for every creature that resides in the house– ourselves included), had arthritically drug–dragged?–dragged herself down the stairs, and was longingly, nay, soulfully looking at the retractable leash in it’s place on the console.
I don’t know that there is anything equal parts more pathetic and more heart-wrenching than watching a seventeen-year-old dog amble her way down a set of stairs and across the floor. So, I did what I always do– I let her plight touch my heart one more time, and I clipped the leash to her collar and went to take her for a brief walk around the yard. She can’t go further. For the last year, if she goes more than half a block, we’re in danger of having to carry her home. She’s not completely broken, though. Just old and tired. It’s a daily reminder of mortality, but somehow it’s a little more than that this morning.
I’m often accused– and rightly so, for I don’t deny it in any way, shape, or fashion– of being too introspective. I think. A lot. All the time. About everything. And, despite what you may believe given some of the inane things I have babbled about in the past here on this very blog, I usually don’t give voice to ninety-eight and a half percent of what’s on my mind. I don’t think I ever have. I like to watch, and I like to think, but I very infrequently speak. I don’t advocate this way of being. In fact, it’s caused me more trouble all of my life than I can even begin to discuss. If you’re quiet, you aren’t friendly. You’re weird, or odd, or–worse yet, if you’re a girl– a bitch. Couple that with an almost perpetual frown, a serious look, and some honestly-come-by sarcastic tendencies, and you’re doomed. Then you’re a judgmental bitch. Not that this isn’t a label I’ve learned to wear with pride every now and again over the years. I won’t deny that, either. That’s the thing, though. Sometimes out of sheer necessity, you become what you really never were in the first place.
As usual, I’ve wandered slightly afield from where I was going; however, I feel a little better giving that thought a voice–even if it’s on a page that no one, or almost no one, is ever really going to read. I don’t often use this space as a cathartic medium, so I hope you’ll forgive today’s foray into the recesses of my cobwebbed, overflowing, mismatched, antiquated file room of consciousness. Perhaps I’ve been reading too much of Elizabeth Gilbert’s work lately. Damn you, Liz, for making me needlessly contemplate my life. As if I needed any help doing that.
So, there I was, outside, early in the morning, with Grace.
My brother would probably groan and roll his eyes, and be understandably– if not rightfully, since he did, for all reasonable definitions of the word, abandon her to us (I know you have circumstances, dearest brother–not that you’ll ever read this, but if you do– know that I love you and I’m almost over feeling angry about the lack of phone calls concerning this issue that I really shouldn’t be airing in public, but am anyway, because against every fiber of my being that encompasses the large gray filing cabinet known as “Better Judgment,” I’m in a sharing sort of mood)– annoyed if he knew that I’d adapted both her name and the spelling of it on a daily basis.
I feel almost like a bastardized version of Henry James with the convolution of that last sentence there. Of course, I know I’m not. Not enough staring into mirrrors and describing pretty flowers and dresses and English gardens in that sentence. That, and it didn’t go on for ten pages. I’ve never liked Henry James much, but here I am at this moment sitting at over 750 words, having not said much of importance–still not managing to come to the point.
I was outside. It was dawn. I was with the old, arthritic dog. It was Easter.
Now, I’m channeling Hemingway. Minus the drinking problem.
My husband calls this stalling.
There are only a handful of times in my life that I have felt completely at peace. Perhaps it’s because that is how I’ve been wired. Some people just don’t get to feel that way often. Perhaps it’s because, as my husband says, I don’t know how to turn my brain off. It’s the thinking thing again. I know that the beach is my place. I can sit on the beach for hours, alone, staring into the ocean by day, or up at the stars by night, and I feel calm. Everything is so vast, so great, so…large…but I feel as if everything is just as it should be, and at those moments in time, in that particular place in time, I fit. I’m right where I should be. This is how I felt yesterday morning.
I stood on the back patio, listening to the birds–every bird possible, including the geese, who were taking flight from the pond a block and a half away from where I stood–sing their various songs, listening to the horses whinny, watching the sun shimmer through the fog that was clinging to the trees and kindly obscuring all signs of civilization. I stood there on our back patio in the cool morning air for approximately seven minutes. Not moving. Not daring to breathe. I don’t know if it was the temperature. I don’t know if it was the time of day. I do not know if it was the simple fact that it was Easter Sunday. I was at peace. Everything was right. Everything was perfect. Everything was as it should have been.
I have never been a devout anything. I do believe in God, and I consider myself Methodist– if a non-practicing one; however, despite my feeling the need to share everything else here, I don’t feel comfortable sharing my perspectives in this particular realm with many others. Perhaps it has to do with the time I visited a particular church of a particular demonitation where they informed all present that if they weren’t of that denomination then they were certainly going to Hell. Reform now in exactly the way we want you to or burn forever because you didn’t believe us. I just don’t buy that. God? I do believe. That God only has one way? Looking around at all of the amazing ways the world works– I just have a hard time believing there is only one way to think, to believe, to be. And just as yours doesn’t have to be mine, my way doesn’t have to be yours. This is as far as I feel comfortable sharing with you.
In those seven minutes, though, there was a steady calmness in my world.
Those moments, they are a blessing. May you find them where you can, and may you hold them in your heart until the next one finds you unawares.