Maybe it’s the time of year, or maybe the weird weather we seem to be
having, but conversations lately have been turning to that dull
feeling we all seem to be sharing. It’s as if a heaviness has taken
over our limbs, causing us to be of the world but not actually in it.
When a friend stopped by the Library this week to return a few things
we began chatting about life and family. She took on this wistful look
as she talked about how she deals with January, mostly by focusing on
the coming months and the addition of more light in our lives. The
lack of snow doesn’t seem to be helping at all, except that she and
her husband have been able to take more walks than in previous
winters. I know her well enough to know that while she’s outside, she
can’t help but envision the flowers underneath the snow and what her
garden will be like, always itching to get her hands in some soil.
When I asked a coworker about her recent committee meeting, her face
lit up. She was pleasantly surprised to be invigorated and reenergized
amongst so many new people; the ideas zinging around the room, pinging
and ricocheting from wall to wall. She felt, she said, as if the
veneer had been ripped back. Gesturing wildly the whole time, she
suddenly stopped. It seems that she had forgotten to do several things
that morning. Amongst them, picking up her son’s instrument from
school and getting all the items on her grocery list. That gauzy
covering had returned and cutting through it felt like an impossible
task. I could only nod numbly in agreement.
Sometimes the mornings in winter are daunting and getting up to face
the gray is unbearable. Those are the moments when that Smiths’ song
about the girlfriend starts playing in my head, the stereo stuck on
repeat. Most people have fantasies about going to exotic places or
winning the lottery. Though I wouldn’t say no to either of those, I
have dreams about staying in bed–for a long, long time. I don’t like
to say “coma” for fear of bringing on a serious tragedy of sorts.
Maybe I should just say “state of suspended animation;” one in which I
was unable to interact with anyone, just laying there breathing. I
think of it as a mini sabbatical from the world, and two weeks would
just about do it. I would welcome the solitude and silence; snuggle
down into my bed, my sanctuary. There would be no deciding what to
wear or meals to make, no books to recommend to harried and hurried
When the gray begins to take over our lives, we have this tendency to
push through. To shake things up, trying to make life exciting again.
Words like dormant and fallow have gotten such a bad reputation,
somehow associated with laziness or weakness. Yet it’s a natural
progression. As the tide ebbs and flows so must we retreat, lie low
and refuel ourselves. The very notion of lying in my bed, like some
knocked out, drugged up patient has a certain appeal to me. Dare I say
it, something I even desire. But I think at the end of the two weeks
my batteries would be recharged, just like that symbol at the top of
my computer screen. I’d be antsy, ready and rarin’ to go. I would have
had time to ponder and wonder, maybe even daydream. For that’s the
type of person I know myself to be. Staring at my ceiling for that
long I’d start to imagine things, as if they were clouds in the sky.
The watermarks would magically transform themselves. They’d take on
shapes like a rocket, a bear, and this one shown here: a bunny popping
his head out of his hole, ready to greet the morning.