SOL Tuesday: Dismantling The Holidays

Unpack the bags
Run the washing machine
Reminisce those last few days of blinding snow and sun and ice
scroll through the handful of photos
the lake frozen still, still
The fog welcoming you back...

Refocus.
Deornament, undecorate the tree
Restore order in bits and pieces, in fits and starts.
The tree is now as naked as when it arrived,
pitch it off the balcony,
drag it to the collection point.

Drink a tea.
Read an article.
Empty the dishwasher.
Reload it.

Sit. Listen. 
Give yourself some grace.

We spend so much time, $ and energy
building up to the HOLIDAYS
Who talks about the task of taking it all apart again?
Of bringing ourselves back
into our non-hoilday lives?
The effort, the relief, the necessity.
The readjustment, the return, the reset.

SOL Tuesday Broccoli and Cupcakes

Broccoli socks make sense paired with cupcake earrings. Grape earrings with fried egg socks: that’ll play.

Lego earrings always win.

The children are watching. One of them always notices. Donut socks and apple earrings, they know it’s me.

Don’t believe anyone who tells you it doesn’t matter what adornments we wear. The children are watching. They are itching to know us one way or another.

SOL Tuesday Alas, Recovery

Bed rest. I knew the term, hadn’t tried it in ages, though. Maybe after the fist covid vax, I was down and out. This time it was food poisoning that took me out, knocked me flat. Like I needed to learn a particular lesson. The hard way.

My spouse who lives elsewhere came over to help out. After getting me a necessary treatment at an outpatient clinic he stayed over night, cleared out my fridge and cabinet of anything remotely overdue, ran the dishwasher, then stretched out on the sofa I don’t believe anyone had ever slept on before. But he made it work and actually slept well for a change. Go figure.

Day 2 of recovery. Long day of mostly bed rest, that unusual opportunity to go limp, bundle up and stay put. It feels like laziness when in fact it is simply the body trying desperately to right itself, to reassemble its strength, not to speak of replenishing reserves. Still too early for that. A body talking to itself, speaking is gentle reassurances: you’re going to be alright. This, too, shall pass.

And pass it must. The next day will arrive, the one where no safety net is prearranged. You claim you’ll be back. resume your activities like before. Hard to imagine at this moment. Hard to fathom the surge of energy that will need to make itself apparent between now and then. ‘Teacher awaits surprise revival’ could be my own headline. Closer to reality, we’ll see how it goes, we’ll play it by ear and hope for the best.

Surely I am both wiser and worse for the wear. Tomorrow’s another day.

SOL Tuesday Can, can, week, weak, wept

Carrying the chaos of too many words I wonder at how odd it is that 
can and can, verb and noun, look and sound the same but are never mixed up.
One can can another, relieve them of their duties which might cause them
to weep and resort to new work only a single letter away, sweep, which is probably
not at all very sweet, this new work, possibly in New York, keeping floors swept
Remembering that Jesus wept and also slept and was likely quite adept
at carving miracles out of stone, not bone; applying healing hands rather than 
the sands 
of time. Words that keep beginning and ending, sounding like neighbors but
claim no relation, a week might be weak on someone's scale but to ask for a task
gives no reason to bask in the knowledge that a rash of cash may appear unbidden,
until then the poor wait at the door seated across a floor that expands beyond
view.
Sense is not common. Words and swords should be friends, they have the same letters plus one.
How odd, that yes is so far from no, yet may and be, slung together behave like the perfect duet.

SOL Tuesday Oh, The Nutrition Plan

A framework is what it is. A framework in which I can make choices. Three options for breakfast, three for lunch, three for dinner. Three meals, nothing more, nothing less. Low in carbs but not devoid of carbs. Plenty of protein, vegetables and some fruit. An apple every day but never in the evening. Tea at mealtimes or now even between meals. Coffee would be OK, if I drank it. No sweeteners, though. Adieu, sugar, honey, maple syrup, I knew you well. Rye bread, only, but it comes in a couple of forms, so there’s that. The crispy kind goes down well. Water, water, can hardly drink enough. Two liters a day, are you kidding? So many trips to the loo! I’m a teacher, did I tell you?

Anyway it gets easier, you develop habits, you get used to it, it feels almost normal. Five hours between meals, no snacks. At the beginning a haul, but then once you do sit down to finally eat, each meal becomes a veritable feast! I mean, the taste of that lunchtime apple! Or the first two bites of steak that precede the garlic-laced zucchini and pak choi! It’s impossible to miss out on the flavor of long awaited and perhaps hastily prepared food. There’s nothing like eating when you are little more than your appetite and anticipation.

Nutrition plan, not diet, not slimming program. Nutrition plan because it’s about taking in what the body needs and leaving out lots of other things. Yes, I miss snacking. Yes, I miss sweet things and noodles and croissants and an occasional beer. Those will come again. They will. For now, I am moving in a direction that says what I’m doing matters. My nutritionist pointed out that I’m taking time for myself. I’m placing my focus on myself for a bit. Yes, that’s true. I hadn’t seen it that way but that’s what’s happening. Each series of decisions that leads to each meal constitutes a set of parameters within which I agree to live for a while. Next week it will be almost a month. Not even the blink of an eye in the grand scheme of things. There are rules to follow, choices that are available, decisions to be made. Yes, my pants all fit now. The way I want them to. But in the end, it’s an exercise in control. It’s about having control, experiencing control. A nutrition plan. Yup. And a sense of control. I guess that’s what I was really hungry for.

SOL Tuesday Saying Some Things

I’ve been saying some things. Some are true. Some are wishes. Some are exhales. Some are just so damn necessary. I’ve been saying some things that keep me up at night, that make me wonder, fret, and suck my teeth. I’ve been saying some things I’ve been meaning to let out. I’ve been saying the things that might be hard to hear but I say it nicely in my white lady voice and it turns out okay. I’ve been saying some things that will tell you that I’m a little old and kinda tired and brave in a smoldering kind of way. I’ve been saying some things that matter. Not just to me but to other folks too. I’ve been saying some things and I guess I’ll just keep on.

SOL Tuesday C-Wishlist

I want candy and companionship, comfort,
carbs, and a night blooming cactus.
I want consensus and consent, conversational aptitude,
collegiality and choice.
I'd rather have commitment calling, covering
my dirty tracks. I want closure.
I wish coral reefs replaced coal; rivers flush
with catfish uncaught. I want coastlines that curve continuously.
I want cake by the ocean, I mean coke in the kitchen, I mean
I want a connection.
Who will give me certainty on a platter,
Completion on demand,
A casting of epic proportions to finally 
put me in the right film?
I need clarity. 
I crave coziness in chocolate and a Chianti nearby.
Bring me the cookout and cookies and cantaloupe cut fresh
Let me have a campfire on the cape, 
combined with calypso beats.
Consider how I sway, clasping
my coconut cocktail 
secure in the knowledge
I shall not be contained
tonight.

SOL Tuesday Time to say goodbye

The last day of summer vacation is here. Already I see my internal wheels shifting their settings from abundance to scarcity. I am thinking of what I’ll miss, of all that will change. Any advice columnist worth their salt would of course suggest that a reframing is needed. To focus not on the loss but on the gains that lie ahead, the many things to look forward to. Sure, I can do that but I’m more interested in honesty of the moment. Of telling the emotional truth, right now, as it stands. So I’ll say goodbye.

Farewell, sleeping in and brunching late.
So long, staying up til midnight without a care.
Adieu, long morning walks up into the woods followed by a cathartic easy jog back home.
Bye, bye, quiet days full of words to read or write or just breathe.
Catch you later, empty calendar.
Ciao, my do-nothing days.
Au revoir to the pace of one.
Goodbye, summer, it’s been great.

With that out of the way, I can safely turn towards the coming school year with the attention and peace of one who has known and enjoyed a period of genuine rest.

SOL Tuesday No News

No news is good news – a meditation

Haven't heard from so-and-so in a while. 
No news is good news!
What a surprise to hear your voice! 
You know what we say: no news is good news!

Here are the rules:
When you call I'll be glad to hear you.
If you don't hear from me, assume I'm alright.
If something is really wrong, you'll hear about it.
If you need something, speak up.
Worry only makes sense when you can do something about it.
You don't owe me metered responses over time.
I care about you even if I am not in your daily or weekly or even monthly business.

What my mother said to me
again and again and again
became my template for understanding the world.
No news is good news
when you have little or no recourse to change or challenge events. 
No news is good news 
when some things turn out to not be fatal 
or injurious
or the worst possible outcome. 
No news is good news
when all you have left is your faith.

In a past shaped by enslavement
degradation
family separation
cruelty with abandon
Not knowing might be better than knowing
Silence is preferable to screaming
No news is not the best news
No news is good news
if you believe that 
better and future can for once align
and grant a little peace.

No news is good news 
is how you get around
expectations and 
attachment 
to certain outcomes
defined by their very
uncertainty.

No news is good news 
is how you keep up
without giving up.
No news is good news
is survival mode.
No news is good news
is an heirloom
no one asked for.

No news is good news
is what my mother said
to keep us 
safe
and loved
and connected
even as we faded from view
traveled eons beyond earshot
independent
but still hers
All no news and still good.

SOL Tuesday A gentle reckoning

How many lives will we squeeze into 50 years or 100?

Which traces will we leave below ground?

Whose budgeted affections will we overextend to then regret our hasty indulgence?

Which personal histories are you writing today?

Looking back, how long did you keep your eyes closed?

What do you hear when I call your name?

We were younger but not smarter, where was our mistake?

I’m glad for you, really. For the life you’ve made. I keep saying, it makes sense. What am I not saying?

It’s possible to be happy with less. Who else is ready for that lesson?

What we saw in each other, it’s still visible after all, right?

Memories are untrustworthy. Thank you for remembering me.

We’re not done. We’re still growing. How’s that working out for you?