All day I have been thinking about disturbing the universe.
I thought about writing about the earthquake that shook us up last night, both literally and metaphorically.
Or about how these latest nights I have been dropping exhausted but still awake at ten, eleven, twelve. Which is late for this girl who finds nine o’clock to be just right.
Or about the flatness of Crystal Lake as I run the road along it. Yes, I’ve been running. Not miles and miles, but enough that my lungs finally shriek with laughter instead of pain and my feet find their own pace. I always take the same road. I’m a little worried that, come Sunday when I arrive at this race I’ve signed up for, the new scenery will flummox me and I’ll be rendered incapable of both movement and speech.
Or about how every time I hear a U2 song, circa 1993, I feel both like singing and crying. Joy and sadness. Memory and present. Elated and aching.
And then I thought I’d write about my practiced ability to entertain two opposing emotions at once. But I realized that does not make me special, or interesting.
So I thought I’d write about all the soccer I’ve been watching lately. Two nights a week, plus twice on Saturdays. The evenings fall faster and the cold is wicked, but I gaze intently from the sidelines at plays I don’t quite understand but find beautiful because two of those boys are mine.
And then I considered listing my October deadlines and decorating my list with little stickmen in the throes of horrible deaths.
And then I thought of writing about beautiful paintings, beautiful novels, beautiful poems, beautiful pieces of music, because disturbing the universe seems to me like a mostly beautiful thing to do. But that line of exploration would involve research. And did I mention…deadlines?
My universe tonight may remain undisturbed by both beauty and grief. I’m writing on the fringe of a soccer game and my hands are numb. Parents cheer. Children put forth exemplary effort. Coaches cajole. T dances out there as if he is alone on the grass, surrounded by an imaginary game of soccer rather than the real one. Luca sits on a hill and strums his guitar. He is going to have so many girlfriends. B rolls under the picnic table and takes surreptitious sips from the water bottles of strangers. All is right with the universe. All is well. Another day has passed with minimal disturbance.
And when “One” comes on the radio on our way home through the full dark, I’ll sing without choking up and embarrass my kids like nothing else.