Joel’s photo got me thinking about the emotional state I’ve been in this month. I wrapped up a big, difficult project at the end of December, and the emotional fall-out surprised me. It wasn’t a writing project, but a life-project, involving the care of an elderly relative. At the end of it, her situation was more secure than it had been in months, even years, and I hadn’t realized how much emotional energy it was taking to carry the management of it all.
So I began a kind of hibernation. I hardly went out, I didn’t post here, and I dealt with long-neglected tasks of my own to try to get my house in better order. Writing, like breathing, was part of the daily routine, but it wasn’t the creative outlet that really fed me. Instead, I wove a basket. I’d learned the craft, using clothesline and yarn, over ten years ago, but I lost interest (and time) partway through my second basket then. Now, I had a project in mind, and going to the store to buy beautiful colors of yarn was balm for my soul.
Often, as I wove, I sat with Smoke, the ancient cat who came into my life from my elderly relative. Smoke is happy to purr if I sit beside and give her a pat from time to time, and the purring and repetitive weaving soothed me. I thought a lot about the things I hope to accomplish, the ways in which life is always changing, the blessings that I often take for granted. I am grateful to have had the time to be invisible to the greater world for a time and to touch into the core of who I am again. Weaving the basket felt like weaving the strands of myself together again.
And then, as if to punctuate the month, I got sick. It was one of those things that knocks you flat for a couple of days and then you re-enter the world as fragile as a new butterfly with damp wings, unsteady on your feet and light-headed. It felt a little like a shamanic transition, and I’m still not certain my wings are dry, but I’m ready to step back into the world, at least a little bit.