The past few weeks have brought hot, humid weather to the Northeast. Morning after morning, I hustle Karina along our customary walk, swatting away the multitude of flies and mosquitoes that swarm around us all along the way.
The heat and humidity make it hard to focus, and if I were to have a coherent thought, typing while my fogged-over glasses slide down my sweaty nose (and this is after a shower), is nearly impossible. To top things off, my computer went haywire, the cursor skipping around from sentence to sentence, clicking on ads and other links of its own accord.
I was wallowing. A lot.
It started in early June. A piece that I had put my heart and soul into didn’t get published when promised. It may soon see the light of day, but its timely lead is no longer timely and it is deeply personal. As more time passes, the more nervous I feel about people reading it.
As June progressed, and the weather got hotter and hotter, I deflated and drooped a little more each day. Pretty soon I was comparing my publishing success to that of others….always a sure road to nowhere.
To be fair, June has a history of being difficult. It is a month of anniversaries that clearly demarcate the all-too-swift passage of time. Forty-one years since I became motherless, and 30 years since I became a mother. Yes, I have a child who is 30 years old. That particular anniversary, more than the other one, hit me hard this year.
In mid- June I pulled some muscle or other in my thigh. Swimming and walking are fine, but rooting around in the garden isn’t possible, and so, I’m letting it go feral this summer. Like everywhere else, it’s too hot and buggy in there anyway.
As if I weren’t already feeling decrepit enough, my dermatologist implied that my multitude of freckles/moles were solely due to too much sun. Sun? Really? In the Northeast? Haven’t you heard of genetics, Bub? So I wallowed in that for a while… until I noticed a woman at the pool. Deeply tanned, her skin was covered with large dalmatian-like spots.
Sometimes, comparison is helpful.
Then my computer went kablooey, and there were histrionics.
The atmosphere inside our little house got even hotter, and to escape, I started reading a book with an angry woman narrator. I am so into that book right now (The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud). And I can’t wait to discuss it with the friend who gave it to me — especially the comment my local bookseller made as I was buying it for another friend. He said that he found the opening paragraphs “a little too shrill.”
Female anger is such a bummer, especially for men. My husband can handle it though. As he told me after the histrionics subsided, “… it’s good that it wasn’t directed towards me.”
But today, things are looking up. First off, the temperatures are in the 80’s not the 90’s and I can actually type this post without dripping all over the keyboard.
Yes, my computer has been fixed.
- New track pad: $90.
- Having a place to vent: Priceless.
And, I have had some writing published this summer. Climate change, always on my mind, came to the fore and I submitted a couple of posts to Moms Clean Air Force. One on how Climate Change has hit home, the other on how it is threatening New England seafood. By the way, you don’t have to be a Mom to join, just an engaged citizen, and if you haven’t already, I’d urge you to take action.
Then, a couple of days ago, the brilliant D.A. Wolfe reminded me of how lucky I am that my sons are independent, that they still want to share their lives with us, and that both are doing work that they and we can be proud of.
Shameless plug: older son’s band is releasing an album on October 8. Freckles or no freckles I’m still cool enough to rate an advanced copy. I’m listening to it now and the music has enough energy to make even the most lethargic among us want to get up and dance.
And you know what else? My garden is doing just fine without me.
In so many ways, I am a free woman!
We all need work, we all need purpose and I’m glad that those are the things I’ll be obsessing about this summer — rather than who’s publishing where, or who or what is or isn’t to blame for my spotty skin — because the day we stop looking for work and purpose is a day when the wallowing has gone too far.