Red flesh of a grapefruit spurts acidic juice as it is cut and divided, while nut-and-fruit-laced oatmeal disappears by the spoonful. Starbuck’s “Joy” tea slowly cools in black and white paisley mug. Open windows invite the cool Spring air inside, accompanied by the call of the doves and the quiet stirrings of a sleepy neighborhood. A dog barks. Sunlight creates patchwork patterns on rooftops and driveways. My husband’s calm form burrows deeper under the covers and pillows to block out the offending morning stimuli.
One of David’s large t-shirts cloaks my sunburned shoulders. Calloused feet tuck under my crossed legs. Dark freckles testify to my ever-increasing quantity of time spent outdoors…basking…in sunshine…in friendship…in summer time.
I am exhausted.
I find that even a 30 minute walk can wear me out right now. Climbing down the stairs to the basement can become a monumental task not worth attempting. Yet, I am not surprised. The stress and worry of the past nine months of 4:15 a.m. alarm clock warnings and hours of graduate school after work are catching up to me. I’m not fighting it.
I am staying bed today. In David’s oversized t-shirt. In need of tea refills.
As my cold toes fold under my calves and my tired shoulders slump, I ponder. Pondering is one of my steps to healing. I don’t become whole until the small cuts and scrapes have been looked at, analyzed, doctored. I’m not fixed until all the wounds are no longer ignored. When I am in “survival mode,” I do a lot of ignoring. A lot of doing and not a lot of thinking. I’ve learned that ability well…the ability to research and write curriculum proposals after eight or so hours of teaching, the ability to listen to hours worth of painful conversation with sisters, students, and friends without carrying the emotional weight into the next day, the ability to go on dates with my husband when I could just as easily fall asleep sitting up. Then, this week arrives. The week after my students have graduated. The week after I have turned the lights of my classroom off for the final time.
I ponder. I think. I sleep. I divest. I talk. I shut up. I heal.
A nearby train blares its harsh warning as wheels and engines chug along. Sprinklers sprout up from hidden nozzles in green lawns and spray water droplets near and far. The smell of lavender wafts from injured patches of red skin. A sweatshirt clad woman walks briskly along the sidewalk. A single peony blooms in the corner flower box under the aspen tree. Purple toenail polish decorates worn out feet.
How do you heal? Are you pondering? Are you sleeping? How long has it been? How long will it be? How long will it take? Have you dared to ask these questions? Dared to stay in bed? Dared to listen to the call of the doves and the murmurings of springtime turning summer?