Months ago, in the summer sun, my heart raw, my mind shell-shocked, my energy barely humming, the sight of shocking monarch glory on the ground stopped me short. Lying on the ground, clearly dead. I stooped down, was she playing dead? They do that. But no. I picked it up. It troubled my heart deeply. I couldn’t let anyone step on her. I might break the wings accidentally. But I knew it would not be an indifferent heart or unseeing eyes scrambling past and crushing something precious. I knew if I let my car moves do their dance, the wings would probably chip. I’d take her home, bury her. But she wouldn’t be trampled unseen. So, I put her in my car and drove away. She stayed there a while. Her colors singing anything but death. I couldn’t bury her yet. (Call the psych experts, she’s begging for a disorder label!! tag her! pin her! mount her on the wall!!! see?! i told you she’s a monarch! and she thought she could fly!)
Things break. People go down and stay down for a long time. Me included. I can’t say how many times I’ve muttered to the sky lately: “you sure you’re not just a mo fo?” Well, really, I say that expletive fully. No shortened clever bit. Just all of it, daring the once-existing patriarchal saturnical snarl. I never do get a response. Invariably something really kind happens and I shrug, realizing I’m suppose to grin and gasp with grateful glee. It’s just not in me. Not lately. I do feel appreciative, joyful moments fleeting. But that long sustained sense of strength, of flight plans sure and true…long, long overdue. It will return…? Must it? I would like even just a bit but mostly I’m just glad to put one foot and then the other.
Life is conspring to bless me, some say. I say life is conspiring to challenge my faith in love, in faith itself, and in life itself while also conspiring to affirm those very things. It’s a sometimes sick twist of contradictions I’d rather not have to contend with. But isn’t that the human story? Ah. It is. (could we catch a bit of a break? please?)
I can’t sleep tonight. When you’re forced to rest often, the days and nights can blur together into a long stretch of a body sighing, trying and then murmuring about football tossing with a son, fun exercise too soon but without regret. Or the lack of nap intended so that the final descent into sleep isn’t 3am, that same lack creating this afternoon zombie state and moments of complete despair. Why did I run a fever today? A bit high again. (Don’t ask me about doctors, ok? I’m not stupid. I promise. This has been with me off and on for over 20 years. No, I don’t want attention. It’s just my story and I’m not trying to hide the fact that, at this point, it shapes my world in blurring lines of fatigue. I won’t pretend to worry that you’re going to know my less “positive” self.)
This is minor. So many tough stories living out their songs of effort and hope and despair all day, every day and nothing like my own managable reality. But there are days I feel like I got put in a car and my wings are chipped and I just need the earth and cool quiet quit and all the time in the world before I crumble all the way, return as tree or weed or something perkier than my current state. (No. Not a death wish. Just a sense of a dying away from a former state of living my life and morphing into something different. And not the first time and wow. Why must it be so intensely unique every time?)
Where does a blog post like this go? It just stops like that butterfly at my feet. It says g’nite and. I hear the best things take a bit of time. And some say that maybe God’s not a mo fo and has even the slightest humor divine. But today, I don’t know. And I don’t much care what people say of this joke divine. I just know I want to float again and sing songs.
But first, the rest.