Sunday, June 30, 2013

Where I am starting: Summer in Maryland

Okay, so here's the deal.  I need to start writing again.  It has to happen.  So for the month of July, I'm going to post something every day.  I'm not going to promise anything earth shattering.  I'm not promising anything beautiful and profound.  I'm not even promising anything good.  But I'm going to write.

I tried this once before, and it didn't go so well...but it will this time, even if only because it has to.  I need to be writing something other than treatment plans and progress notes. 

So here is where I am starting: I'm laying on the floor in my living room.  My dog is happily eating a paper towel tube next to me -- it's his favorite toy so I let him have it, even if it means I step on wads of wet, chewed cardboard.  There's a fan running in every room, working overtime against the heat and humidity outside.  We're lucky: there's a breeze outside today disrupting the humid stillness. 

I've just unloaded my groceries and I'm still warm and sticky.  My elderly Deaf neighbor is outside in her pajamas calling her cat: "ommmmm eeeeee," she calls.  "Ommmm eeeeee!"  Come in, she's saying.  Come in!  My hair feels frizzy and out of control, so I pulled it up into a knot on top of my head, just to get it out of the way.  There's a dog barking outside, which makes Marshall raise his head.  He barks, softly.  "Marsh..." I warn him.  He puts his head down with a groan, then spies a piece of half chewed cardboard, puts it between his paws, and resumes chewing.  I wish I understood the appeal of this.

My thoughts are busy, and my body feels tight in all the wrong places.  It's been one of those days when my skin just doesn't seem to fit right on my body.  One of those weeks, rather -- or months, or years, perhaps.  The pressure from the atmosphere seems to want to hold my breath captive in my chest, but I force it in and out, wondering if soon, this act of breathing will begin an accordion-like sound.  My busy mind follows that thought and briefly wonders what song my breathing would play.  This will require more thought.  What about for you?

We're supposed to get thunderstorms tonight.  The sky is already overcast, the air is heavy, and the pressure in my head indicates the weathermen are likely right on this one.  A storm is definitely coming.  I take a sip of my barely cold water and a bite of cantaloupe.  It's summer in Maryland. 

Summer in Maryland is different than summer in Ohio.  Summer in Maryland has a history that tastes like crab cakes, and sun tea, and corn on the cob.  It's deep red tomatoes with mayonnaise and pepper at my grandmother's house.  It's swimming in dirty lakes, going down the shore, and games of Capture the Flag.  Summer in Maryland is wild blackberries deep in the woods, straight off the plant.  It's a history of crayfish catching and butterfly nets; mason jars with fireflies; pool water stinging my nose.  It sounds like my grandmother's laugh and cicadas.  Summer is a visceral experience.

It's been a long time since I've inhabited my body this fully.  There's a gratitude I experience for life these days that I had forgotten.  I notice the smallest things, and they amaze me: the taste of yogurt and fresh blueberries.  The smell of fresh cut grass.  Lightning bugs making a Christmas light display of the dark.  The feel of rain on my skin.  Finding this space in my body and mind for gratitude is like falling in love with the world.  It's like being present for my life for the first time in a long, long while.  I have a theory about this.  This is what I do while walking, cleaning, driving, showering, sleeping...I make theories, then revisit them later.  My mind is a veritable textbook of half-baked theories, waiting for me to prove them right.

There's so much I've missed while my mind was busy doing other things.  I'm ready to re-learn summer.  Cantaloupe and thunderstorms seem like good places to start.