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It has come on for days, seeping in around the edges of my consciousness like the cold air sliding under the crack in the door. It is colorless, odorless and tasteless. Like the cold draft, I slowly become aware of it but neglect to address the source. At first there is peace in sleep, then it nags at me, tearing open small packets of anxiety and sprinkling the dust in my dreams.

I feel my age, my muscles are sore and my bones are cold. An hour-long talk with my sister allows me to just let go and cry, weep the sadness to the surface and let it overflow. There is no one event or action that caused this flood,  it feeds on itself, gathering strength from the suppressed sorrow.

I sat myself down to a new task, a project that was repetitive but creative. I am organizing a holiday book fair for the Toadstool in Peterborough. Armed with a list of local author’s emails I sent out a flurry of requests for participation. Before I sent a request, I looked up each author and researched their work. It felt a little like stalking celebrities online. My own eggshell of existence seemed so insignificant.

By three o’clock, I had finished the list and covered the responses that were beginning to pour in. I realized I was still in my PJs, my lunch dishes were gluey and disgusting and the daylight would be gone in ninety minutes. the gloom crept back up my spine. Stripping the sheets from my bed, I made it back up with a crisp, clean set. I will end this day with a fresh start.

I walked out to the back deck and looked into the woods. It is the proverbial “stick season.” Clearing the road into my forest has opened the view even more. As my friend and fellow blogger Alan said recently, the bones of the forest are revealed. It was cold, but rather than retrieve a jacket, I stayed perfectly still, counting my breaths and allowing myself to just feel. A brisk walk up the new “road” with Alice focused my eyes on the minutiae I have missed all day.

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Alice exploring an uprooted birch tree.

When I sat back down, an hour later, the sadness was still with me but its weight was bearable. My mailbox was full of positive and supportive responses from the authors about the book fair…voices reaching out from others who know the solitude and sometimes, the quiet despair of choosing a creative life.

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8 comments on “Determination and Despair

  1. Touring NH says:

    I’m glad to hear that the responses are positive! Some days, still being in your pj’s at 3 in the afternoon is a good thing, not something to do every day but an occasional indulgence! The world didn’t end because of it nor did it end because you didn’t jump up and do the dishes. You had a task to complete and set to it. Good for you for doing all of that research and work! I don’t know about you, but I always sleep best on clean crisp sheets, especially when I’ve hung them outside the dry! Keep your chin up and take some extra vitamin D

    1. Thanks Laura, good advice and I will load up on vitamin D.

  2. I look at being outdoors as something I need as much as I want, because it always makes me feel better. At the very least I walk at lunchtime each day.

    1. Thanks Alan, it is so hard on these gray days, both mental and weather-wise gray, to dig myself out and walk in the woods. But, as you say, it makes all the difference in my attitude.

  3. betterbalancewithin says:

    I have a melancholy sense during this time of year – it is a revealing and reflective time for me and as the man you mentioned said, ‘the bones of the forest are exposed’. a similar movement is happening internally to me in retrospect my journey is ‘exposed’ where has led me to this point. What is it I need to do now – sometimes like you – being still seeing your breath, counting your breath in the crisp air is all that is needed to embrace the ‘I’ that is searching for understanding in our world or joys and sorrows. Yes – each moment we awaken it is a new beginning. Namaste, dear friend your message touches home base.

    1. Thank you Suzanne, your message touched me. I know I am not alone but it feels so much better knowing you are out there.

  4. mariekeates says:

    I’m feeling the same. Hard to shake.

    1. Full moon tonight, Marie, I’m hoping that sparks a change for me.

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