I took a walk. I can barely remember it. That's what anxiety does to me. It takes away my ability to think and process information properly. I think it must be like one of those functional black-outs they talk about which alcoholics experience. Maybe? I think that I reach a point with the anxiety where I simply have to check out and so I do and I am capable of doing dishes and taking walks and whatever simple tasks must be done but there is not a lot of cognition going on.
But I did walk. I know I did and I know it was beautiful. It must have been and besides that, I do actually and truly remember one purple azalea which had prematurely burst forth on a bush in front of an empty house on Main Street.
It's so hard to believe that tomorrow at noon cold air is going to start pouring in and then the rain which according to a National Weather Service advisory will be, "bringing a thin glaze of ice as far south as the Florida Panhandle and the Big Bend." We have no clue as to how to drive on ice around here. You might as well tell us that the roads are going to be coated with a thin glaze of cream cheese or olive oil or cherry Slurpee or okra or canned ham. That's how rare this event will be if it does indeed happen. The weather predictions lately have not been very accurate. Hard freezes are predicted and then maybe not. I hope this one doesn't happen. I looked at my own azalea bushes today and they are starting to bud and some of them are even showing color.
I remember an unexpected freeze we got once a long time ago when I lived in a different house in Lloyd. This was a house which my then-husband and I had moved from Monticello to our property in the woods about ten miles from here. He and a friend of ours restored it into livability, replacing rotten sills and putting on a front screened porch and I loved that house. It was just an old Cracker house but until we moved here, it was my favorite house ever. There was one large bedroom, one tiny bedroom that Hank and May shared, one very plain bathroom, a decent kitchen, a living room. And our friends David and Karen had come to visit one warm March day with their children and spent the night and we woke up the next morning to find that temperatures had plummeted and we had icicles hanging from the roof and we had already gone through all of our firewood (we heated with a wood stove) and it was crazy cold. I had already planted the potatoes and the peas and they were sprouting and here was all of this ice. I think we burned an old table the men broke up for fuel. I swear, I believe that's what we did. We were so young and it was an adventure and we bundled the children up and we burned that table and it was all fine.
It will all be fine if it actually freezes tomorrow too.
It has started to rain a little, as I write this, a gentle patter, a sound so soft it is barely discernible.
Another thing I did today was to sweep and tidy up what I call my office. It was originally the kitchen of this house, which was separate from the main building because of the risk of fire, I would imagine, and also because in the summer, the heat would be too much. It is such a gift- that room, even though I do not really use it very much. The boys love to play in it. Owen finds some of my treasures- an incense burner in the shape of a stone turtle, some quartz crystals, tiny booklets- and he puts them in a metal box I keep in there and we pretend Happy Birthday. He gives me the presents and then I give them to him. The boys run around the room in circles, screaming in joy, and Owen finds pens and paper and turns on the fan which is industrial strength and sounds like an airplane engine and scares Gibson to death and he runs to me and hides in my bosom.
Before my then-husband and I moved into our beautiful Cracker house, we lived in a ten-by-fifty foot trailer on our property. It was small but it was adequate. May was born in that trailer. I say "adequate" because before we lived there, we had lived in a house with no plumbing, no running water, an outhouse, barely functional electricity and no heat at all except for fireplaces which, when you lit them, caused all of the cold air to pour through the cracks in the walls and the floors, drawn by the fire in some scientific way which I do not exactly understand but swear to you- it was true. So that trailer with its relatively good insulation and its bathroom which we plumbed with running water from our well (and the day I figured out I was pregnant with May I was digging ditches through the hard red clay to run the PVC) was not a bad place to live. For awhile. But while we lived there, I would have dreams of finding a room I did not know existed. I would find a door and open it and there would be an entire room, spacious and light-filled and when I woke up from those dreams to the reality of my tiny 10 by 50 foot tin trailer, I would be so depressed. And now I have this house with rooms to spare and that one, that old kitchen, the room which is mine and mine alone, is like those trailer dreams come true. This house wends and winds its way from one end to the other. There are so many doors in it that I can fall asleep, counting them in my head. They lead from one room to another, they lead to porches and a deck. There is no shortage of doors or rooms and I cleaned one of those rooms today. My lagniappe room.
My mind is wandering tonight like the pathways in this house. When I take the folded laundry from the tiny laundry area off the kitchen to our dressers, our closets, I can choose one of two routes. I can go through the house itself or go through the back porch where I spend half of my life. Wandering. Wending. Winding.
Mr. Moon is out of town. There is nothing but the sound of the rain, now just dripping from the tin roof and those crazy frog-birds, their voices sharp notes in the darkness. I made an appointment today to start what for me is a terrifying process wherein strangers will know the darkness of the parts of my body which are hidden by skin which destroys completely my beloved illusion that we are, as Tom Robbins said in one of his books, filled not with blood and bones and organs and veins and miles of pink intestines and all of that gucky, real stuff but with white light. Pure white light. I did that. I walked. I picked some camellias, I threw away the old, browning ones, I put the new ones in vases. I printed out some documents I needed to print. I swept and tidied. I used Fabuloso and vinegar and KaBoom! I sprayed around the toilet that Owen uses and got on my hands and knees and wiped the floor and toilet clean because it was smelling like the men's room at the Texaco station. I gathered two eggs, one blue, one brown. I fed cats and dogs. I crumbled bread I had made for the chickens. I ate some food, and I can't remember what. I spent way too much time on the internet reading a blog written by a woman who is perhaps even more desperate than I am about how we need Jesus in our lives and also articles about what Madonna wore to the Grammys and how to deal with anxiety. Hope. Believe in hope. I took the trash. I made my husband his snack bag and stood at the stove and used the Whirley Pop to make him a huge bowl of popcorn and I made his coffee drink so that he could drive to Orlando without falling asleep. I have read quite a few pages of Alexander McCall Smith's newest book in the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series which is a little like taking a sweet, mild anti-anxiety medication.
The rain is pattering again. Those frog-birds are frantic. I am going to eat a left-over pork chop with a left-over sweet potato. Tomorrow morning I go back to the dentist for a final (god I hope) check there. And then Lily and the boys and I are going to do something and if we go to lunch, you can be sure we will call Hank to join us.
Here's the thing- I don't want my life to be a getting-through-it proposition. It is far too filled with goodness and richness and love for that and to merely get through it is a sin. I know that.
Well. There is hope, isn't there? For me there is not Jesus but there is hope.
On we go! Chin up! as my mother used to tell me.