We are scattered to the wind, now, like seeds drifting, untethered yet to the earth, or like stars
flung to the corners of the galaxy, each a brilliant blaze of light, dancing apart in a shifting sky
turning, twirling, wheeling free and onward to some unknown future-bound meeting point.
As space and time pull us on, we spin faster, raising our hands stretching them out, reaching for each other
leaning toward our reunion – the scent of it, crackling sweet like a great celestial bonfire
(bright as the birth of stars -though your birth was eons ago now; this on our horizon is a different celebration, another marker in the universe of us)
tonight I can smell it, almost see it, close enough to anticipate, I settle in, the shooting stars around me intensify,
and I wait.
It’s been some time since I’ve written about my return to work, about how I’ve been managing. For a while – a long while – I was managing so well I didn’t need to think about it. There was nothing really to say.
So I can’t tell you when I stopped feeling comfortable in my skin again. Sometime between February and now, while I was looking the other way, thinking about other things and just trying to keep up, I lost part of myself. The part that puts down markers and holds fast to boundaries and says “no more” without fearing the consequences, without giving in.
Without resorting to desperation.
Without succumbing to panic.
Now, again, I imagine the judgement of others – which is my judgement of myself. I jump at unexpected sounds. I am immobilized by the need to make decisions. I feel fragile.
I know it’s work that has worn me down – or at least I know I’ve let it. I love my job but not to the detriment of my sanity. Others surrounding me are running around trying to keep everything afloat as well. Perhaps they are struggling like me, perhaps not quite – not yet. But the mistake I’ve made is allowing that to keep me in the fire. I’ve turned to them for approval when I say no. I’ve pushed myself to perform in return for recognition, acknowledgement. That amounts to putting my sanity in their hands.
Thankfully, I still have all the lessons I learned while on stress leave. Thankfully, I can now recognize the signs of impending doom, and can mark the distance from here back to my boundaries. There is hope, a way back.
I don’t know how to catch hold of that nugget that is my strength, to catch hold and expand it. But I know I have to.
Maybe the knowing is step 1. Maybe I’m already on the right path.
Maybe it is already time to search for step 2.
This isn’t what I wanted to write today —
I thought gardens and sunshine and light —
but you know as well as I that truth finds a way,
like water searching for its route.
I stare out from this shell
this broken exterior you see as whole
I bind myself in here daily,
held tight with coloured scarves and pearl-strands
I put on a good show —
you’d never guess, any of you,
just how deep the cracks
how close to breaking open this shell
until, pushed beyond unseen boundaries,
and then you see.
I don’t mean to test your mettle
but your responses reveal your true nature
either cementing how we move forward, together,
or leaving me broken on the floor.
It’s not all as dire as it sounds… but it has been a tough week, pressure-wise.
the trees look different
suddenly vibrant, painted garish
against brilliant blue
once the somber birds of winter
spoke harsh truths there
now songbirds sing joy
to our fellowship’s sluggish revival.
dazed by office air, stale and cold,
I pass into the sun
the warmth is cloying
but soothes body and mind aches,
sky-depth widening my gaze,
I turn from inward to look beyond.
a bell rings through the silent neighbourhood —
the knife sharpeners of all our childhoods;
cardinals fleck the trees with their colour
calling to each other: Ma-rie! Pe-ter!
A team of boys practices soccer in the park
with a thunk-thwack of the ball, ringing laughter.
I recognize this season,
its spilling in and out of open doors
its jubilant gardens
like children, looking for places to explore.
Sometimes I am so lonely I bike home through downtown’s clogged and clanging streets
instead of taking gentle greenland passages along silent flowered waterways
instead of slipping unseen between twisting deserted neighbourhood corners —
but today I rode greenward, into honeyed air perfumed by blossoms
(lilac, cherry, crabapple, and gardens bursting with colour)
the forgotten familiar sweetness of summer drawing me out with its shy sun
drawing all of us into spaces shunned by winter’s isolation.
Something I wrote a few weeks ago, just as the weather began to turn, finally, from cold and dark to flower-filled lightness. I also wanted to revisit the long-lined poem style I had tried out as part of April’s GloPoWriMo.