Saturday, March 21, 2015

Dry as Melba Toast

I have hit a wall. My idea well has run dry. My thoughts have evaporated into thin air. I am empty. Depleted. Used up.

I wake up in the morning and wish for nothing more than the day to be done and to be climbing back under those covers.

Darkness, quiet, emptiness. It is what I crave and what I feel.

Why is it so dark in here?

I am looking at my life and wondering how many things I can "quit" and still sustain myself financially.

Has writing under pressure been to blame? I have been counting on my writing reserves to carry me through this desert storm. I read what I have written in the past and I find it dry and uninspiring to me these days.

What is missing?

Passion, dreams, sunshine. That is what I am not feeling these days.


I have holed myself up into my fortress of solitude trying to replenish myself. It isn't working.

It has been a long, cold, dark and dreary winter. I haven't been rolling with the punches very well. I glanced at some of the "cat posts" I have written lately and I'm not here to write about our cats again. I am here to say that writing about our cats is my coping mechanism. They are my "light" on a dark day. They don't demand anything from me and I get great pleasure from watching their antics and musing over their unique personalities.

It is like staring out into the ocean. I have needed a place where my mind is not busy thinking, planning and scheming. I have needed to coast through some of this endless winter.

I don't know exactly where "this" began.

I am a great lover of light. Losing daylight hours in September has been hard these past few years. It has felt like watching an impending car crash in very slow motion. I see it coming and I know there is nothing I can do about it so I seem to have created this bigger than life dread over the impending darkness.

This past fall, I thought I had the best plan of all.

I was in the end stages of a huge writing/history collecting project which was fulfilling and satisfying on every level. I was exhilarated to finally put a cover on it and call it a book. Success, hoopla and celebration filled my mind as our daylight hours started to decline.

I jumped straight from the book project, into full throttle family reunion planning mode. I was in contact with almost every one of my cousins, aunts, uncles and my immediate family. It was an intoxicating time. Planning is a little bit exhausting but the contact with my family breathed life into my soul.

One month after our nights became longer than our days, I was flying high. Our family reunion was a success on every level.

This is often when I fall flat on my face. The exhilaration levels are often followed by a crash of epic proportions. It never happened.

Christmas projects and concern over a close family member who was not doing well diverted my energy and attention. I kept doing the "next right thing" and that took me through and beyond Christmas like a pro.

I was already predicting the letdown after the holiday season, so in a pre-emptive move, my sister and I booked a purely frivolous weekend trip to Las Vegas to see "Dancing With the Stars - Live". We were to leave February 6th and my brother and his wife were going to join us.

On January 6th, I sent a "Do you realize where we will be ONE MONTH from today?" text to my siblings. I was on a roll. It was the beginning of January and I was sailing through this thing called winter like a champ.

Then my perspective on life changed on a dime.

On January 10th, my mom went to the doctor and according to the results of her ultrasound she had what appeared to be cancer.

My world became very dark.

The crash that never happened after the high of completing our family's book project and the reunion that followed? It finally arrived.

I tried writing my way through. I tried talking my way through. I tried sleeping through it. Nothing worked.

Life just had to happen in its own way and in its own time.

Mom went through surgery like a pro and we are presently waiting for her pathology results. But her doctor's words were comforting and positive. I don't feel over-the-top worried any more. I simply feel numb. This is my mom we are talking about. The ground beneath my feet starts to tremble when I think too hard about the fact that she is not entirely invincible.

Life goes on. Mom is healing well, sounding strong and encouraging. Sunshine and an increase of daylight hours are returning to our world. Blue skies and mild weather are brightening our days. But I am still lost somewhere.

I have holed myself up in a place of quiet and solitude as much as I possibly can. I've gone through this cocooning process before. I retreat from the world when it hurts too much to be a part of it. When I emerge, I feel transformed and life feels full of wonder and possibilities again.

I'm not quite there yet but the sunshine is working its magic and I think it is on its way.

My thoughts and words have been silenced. I hope they are all bottle necked someplace, somewhere in my brain. I have been fearful of letting my fingers fly across the keypad because my thoughts feel so toxic.

So, I have written about our cats instead. Or my daycare stories. Or (most recently) nothing at all.

Sunshine and rainbows aren't always visible behind the cloudy and overcast days. Both sunshine and happiness feel so elusive when you cannot see and feel it. You know it is there but it is lost in the darkness.

That is when I turn to my cats to help me see the light that shines through the endless "night". There is something about that purr in my ear that transcends all and touches me in a way that even music cannot penetrate on the darkest of days.

Here is a sampling of what makes my heart purr during the darkest days:

This is Junior Cat, our cat who is afraid of everything, working on overcoming his fear of children and has been trying to earn the title of Daycare Kitty that Senior Cat has worn proudly for the past 14-1/2 years. I think Senior is whispering little tips into Junior's ear because Junior has come a long way this past year and a half. He now approaches the kids when they are still and quiet. 

The other day, as we sat and watched "Toy Story", Junior came up to one of my "Daycare Daughters" and begged her to pet him. She was only too happy to oblige.

He is actually purring very quietly in this video. You have to turn up the volume and really listen for it. You can only hear him at the end. But he was purring the whole time.

Life is like that sometimes. You really have to watch and listen for it, but the good stuff is usually sitting there waiting for you the whole time. You just have to "turn up the volume" to hear it...

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