jeudi 16 juin 2011

The natural order of things

Frog in a water lily flower


I see them along the bricks edging the fishpond-in-an-old-fountain, and on the moss mounded on the old stone farm sink. I see them clutching the edges of the water lily leaves, or sitting atop them, but until today, I had never seen one actually sitting inside the flower itself, resting lightly on the yellow pistils and stamens. This is a small frog of great vision and imagination; he sees possibilities where others see only pink.

Many days have passed this year when I have not written, and not even felt tempted to write. I have a short list of probable explanations:
  1. Hours spent in the garden working without stop from February 27 through June 1.
  2. Various computer malfunctions relating mostly to power supply and motherboard issues.
  3. Numerous family dysfunctions relating mostly to inflated expectations in a blended family situation.
  4. Hours spent working on my volunteer position as president of a non-profit association that runs a publicly funded daycare center with a social mission.
  5. Fear of exposing my private reflections, having taken on a public role, and wondering if the fear is reasonable, or as inflated as my blended family expectations.
And the winner is, fear of exposing my private reflections, having taken on a public role, and wondering if the fear is reasonable, or as inflated as my blended family expectations!

Fear, as they tell you, makes for being stuck, and now that I have begun, I realize there are a million places, almost only places where I live in some level of perpetual fear: fear of another argument about what is really necessary in our home renovation (stuck), fear of another argument about how good is good enough in our home renovation (stuck), fear of spending money when I earn none (stuck), fear of heading out for a jog and finding that my back spasms and I can't suck in enough breath, having been inactive apart from gardening for -- oh -- a year (stuck), fear that I have been a terrible parent and a worse life partner, fear that fear that I have irreparable personality issues, fear that I really have no talent for anything and that I will be caught out, fear that for everything I have learned, I have learned nothing.

The only thing I don't fear is taking on a challenge, like becoming president of an association with an operating budget of 650,000 € and 13 employees, or ordering and installing a new motherboard for my laptop.

My husband would suggest, kindly, that this sounds just a little bit like depression, which is just so depressing (and confusing), really.

"Tu as besoin d'un projet. Le problème c'est que quand tu en as, tu vas à fond, mais quand tu n'en as pas, tu es comme ça." "Ca" meaning depressed. "Ca" meaning untethered and aimless.

"C'est pas vrai," I retort, but it's true. At least it seems true. So, what does it mean?

Projects make you feel like your life has purpose and structure, when they might really be a mask for their total absence. I long for two things. The first is to be able to feel as though I am sitting on a mountain top, or a very high hilltop, anyway, with a clear view out over the surrounding countryside, the countryside being "the meaning and purpose of life". The second is to be Solomon Grundy: Born on a Monday, Christened on Tuesday, Married on Wednesday Took ill on Thursday, Grew worse on Friday, Died on Saturday, Buried on Sunday. That was the end of Solomon Grundy.

I'd settle for the Sesame Street version of his week, too. At least there is order and purpose, activity and diligence, reductionist simplicity in it, even if at the end of the week he's still half dirty.

Anyway, I tell myself that when my computer is functioning properly again, which should be as soon as I install my reconditioned motherboard when it arrives, I will get my drawings for the house ready. We shall see.

That failing, I'd be my frogs. They don't have to feel guilty when they are between projects and doing nothing, or avoiding projects altogether. They can sit in the water lilies.
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