Monday, August 2, 2010

The Pungent Lush of Quiet

I'm here in these summer nights, planning to write, and thinking of posts, and starting stories in my head.  And then nothing.  I nap, or lie lazily on a couch staring up into the warm summer air, tracing circles in the sky with my fingertips.  There's so much inside, and so much outside too, so much everything all around me, that I can't do much but rest, soak it all in, and wait to find the words.

We came home from our vacation and my boy, after ten days with his mama's full attention, was not at all ready for mama to go back to work.  Which he has told me.  And told me.  And told me.  Through tears and loud, choking sobs, and cries of:  Mama, I want hold you! and Mama, NO work, NO office, Mama!

And then there were the days last week when we feared something might be wrong with our daughter, and the waiting for the next ultrasound, and the waiting for the appointment with the genetic counselor, and the waiting to see if the amnio would be necessary.  And in the end, it wasn't necessary, and all will be well, or at least our chances at well are equal to anyone else's, which is really all you can ask for, and plenty enough for me! 

But in the meantime it was hard not to answer Mama, I want hold you! with indulgence every time.  Except, I do have to go to work.  And he's not making it easy on me in the slightest.  And once I arrive, I am nearly drowning in to-do lists and ought to stay all day instead of just the morning if I'm ever to get all these things done.  I have a new collaborating partner, and I'm thrilled and excited about everything we'll be able to accomplish together.  But after a brief lull in demands as the last program year came to a close, things are quickly ramping up again, and a week's vacation seems to be a poor method for staying on top of one's game.  So while at work I am a whir of meetings and notes, post-its and reminders, paperwork and planning, training and racing and touching base and following up and forgetting as many things as I remember most days!  I come home a weird combination of wired and tired, my thoughts leaping like a hobo hopping trains across the country in a pattern with no discernible overriding logic, except the mad dash for freedom without the costs.

I bought a new dining room set, but we have no plan for what to do with the old one.  My husband went to pick up a batch of firewood from a freecycle ad and walked away with a jogging stroller thrown in for good measure (a single to use instead of the bulky double jogger I usually lug about).  He also responded to an offer of a chalkboard, which turned out to be a huge, heavy piece the size of one wall in our dining room with a beautiful white wooden frame.  We can't hang it until we buy a set of toggle bolts to hold its weight.  I found the perfect desk for sale for $300, and then discovered an almost exact match on craigslist for $40.  It came with a hutch we don't want.  So the dining room sets, and the jogging stroller and the chalkboard and the new desk, and the unwanted hutch are all taking up space in the dining room along with the couch I'm hoping to replace with the next paycheck, and a blond-wood bench our boy is just beginning to outgrow, and an ever-growing pile of paperwork including, but not limited to, all the mail collected for us while we were away.  Just walking through the room makes me tired.  I imagine that I could work my way through the room if only I could simultaneously work my way through a bottle of wine, but that may just be my excuse for gliding through it each day as if I'm incapable of taking action.  I do, indeed, feel incapable of taking action for the time being.

Once I make it through the messy maze of dining room I find myself confronting a hallway covered in a patchwork of paint samples.  All the possible colors we're considering bumping up against each other in a geometric grid of imperfect squares.  We can't choose a color; we keep buying more samples and painting new squares above, and below, and beside the other squares.  We joke that soon we'll be done with the whole room, and simply live with the patchwork of possibilities.

My son's toy supply feels like it doubled after a week with my mother-in-law, and all my classroom-like organization is lost amidst the bounty.  It is bounty - and abundance - I'm struggling under, unable to find the words or the energy to work my way through the constant chaos of feelings and things and the demands of all the luxuries of a life so full of luck and love, days thick with summer air and evenings spent in the echo of cicadas calling while we sit in deck chairs or thunder roaring as raindrops fall fast and heavy outside our open windows.

I find myself sleeping the afternoons away, leaving messes to pile on the messes, and moving through my own home like a ghost who can't possibly be expected to create order in this chaotic corporeal world.  So I lie lackadaisical on piles of pillows, and my son climbs me like a mountain, driving trucks and trains on my limbs, stopping to listen to the stories he demands in between imaginary journeys in vehicles fashioned of plastic, wood and wire.

I'm so tired, but I'm happy, and all I can do for now is rest - and be - in this pungent lush of quiet, waiting for the words to return to me.

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