Sometimes I can grasp the energy whirling around me and harness into forward momentum. I can gather resources and charge forth with passion and discernment. I know what needs to be done, and I do it. I know where to look for answers and I know what steps to take to get me what I want.
Years ago, a friend said, "You amaze me. You say you want a dog kennel built on the side of the house, and the next time I see you, it's there. You did it."
I thought, "Well, yeah. Why would I say I want something and then not move forward to get
it?" It didn't seem logical to me. That must have been my sowing and reaping time. My leader time. For now I feel fallow. My follower time.
I still feel the energy around me, the potential for the fantastic, but I don't seem to be able to harness it anymore. For now. For now I am the follower. But I don't like that feeling. I don't like that place I have somehow put myself in. Right now I don't feel like I could make a dog kennel materialize.
My housemate and I are building a garden together. Paul doesn't seem to want anything to do with it, except maybe to eat it. Right now it is an embarrassment to him. It looks ugly to him on the front-lawn-that-was. It's just a baby garden without its eyes open yet. All leaves and seeds and piles of dirt covered in plastic. Maybe I don't feel driven to lead in this project because I feel pulled towards Paul's dissatisfaction. Maybe I feel discouraged that it doesn't look beautiful yet.
No. I see its little green potential. I know that growing takes time. I live that knowledge every day. And some days don't look so good, some days I don't want to look around. I just want to close my eyes until it all goes away -- these moments of breathing under water. Where some movement, or song lyric or t.v. show brings me back to the days after my second husband's death. Like time travel.
Two days ago I spent six hours in my garden (following my housemate's lead) so maybe today is just one of those days where I can't lead. I don't have the oomph for it; I don't have the charge.
I remember Saturday mornings in the house I grew up in. I remember sweatshirts and coffee mugs and spiral-topped steno pads with lists; of the stereo on and the windows opened. I remember my mom's challenge to tackle the house and strip it of its clutter and filth, of its resentful and mocking attitude. I would answer her call and we would leap forward with purpose and a destination. We would conquer the negativity that clouded around us and we would then breathe fresh air and lemon pledge. We would see shiny surfaces and spread clean sheets and set the timer for 45 minutes so we could switch the laundry out. And we would have the knowledge that we succeeded. We overcame the Other Entity, the house, that would sometimes overcome us and live its own agenda. Perhaps even trying to drive us out of our own home.
And so today, when I am feeling particularly weak and overwhelmed at my home's 'own agenda,' I desire to capture that same spirit my mom had. To devour the negativity. To banish the stagnant energy and to breathe fresh air again. But my mom is not here. She is living in Washington state and I can't answer her call to arms. I must do the leading today, and not the following.
But I don't know how. The house, the Other Entity, is winning today. Old manuscript pages cover the floor at my feet, dirty dishes clutter my writing desk, books lie on the floor. Baskets, canvas bags, one shoe, a pair of scissors, one of Paul's shirts, and a pair of faerie wings. This is just my office.
Traveling in my front door you would be accosted with: a memory foam mattress pad that needs to be returned to Bed Bath and Beyond, the other shoe, the remains of a bag of kitty litter I needed to spread under the motorcycle that sprang a gas leak yesterday. Two coats and a poncho that fell off the coat rack, a pair of slippers and Joey's flip-flops. Also, a placemat on the stairs.
The living room holds: the vacuum hose still attached to the wall from two days ago and two vacuum attachments lying on the rug. Aubrey's boots. Candy wrappers, an Easter bunny and three books -- one, a Garfield comic book from the library, lying open at where Joey left off. Dirty laundry, clean laundry, a canvas I haven't hung yet from when I finished it weeks ago. Dirty dishes and various remotes, books and trash cover the coffee table. Joey's sneakers, a footstool and a water bottle cap next to a dog-haired fleece lie on the floor.
Walking into the dining room you see art supplies piled in a drawer taken from the broken dresser in the garage that's been there since March 28th. Our video camera bag and my computer bag are also on the floor next to: two of Aubrey's sweaters, Joey's robe, a dog's toy, a folded up easel, a crumpled phone book, a big bag of hamster bedding and two hamster cages from when Aubrey cleaned them out but didn't put them away this morning. Hopefully there is a live hamster in one of them.
Joey's box of birthday gifts is still on the unswept floor -- and then you look to the kitchen table. Yarn, felt, science experiments, cereal bags, books, two clean bowls and the pickle jar opened.
I feel hysteria bubbling up.
The bar has: a swimsuit -- just the top half, though, the bottom fell to the ground -- candles, notepads, a knitted headband, candy wrappers and gardening books. The taxes folder, a pair of bug glasses, a wench costume, a towel and a skirt and my orange vinyl address book.
The kitchen is unspeakable and I'll just leave it at that.
All of our bedrooms and the back patio shall all speak for themselves, as well.
So what do I do?
Where shall I start?
In frustration, I usually start with a list. A plan of action. A room to start in. But without my mom to call the battle cry -- to lead the assault -- I can't seem to get past putting on a bandana and drinking three cups of coffee. I have no one to follow.
And there I stop, for I've nothing else to say.