I have excuses, oh, plenty of them and all boring as hell, I'm sure: I was readjusting to the antidepressants. I got sucked down the Facebook vortex with everyone else--why contemplate an entire blog post when I could blurt out a single sentence? I got a new job. My cat was sick. I turned 40. Beneath all of these is the simpler and even more boring excuse, in which I just...didn't...feel like it. Didn't feel like writing, didn't have sufficient motivation to put one paragraph in front of the other.
In recent months, and even the past two weeks, the world felt a tad bit worse, in fact: randomly cruel, though not explicitly to me. Several friends lost parents. One friend lost a child, a happily anticipated baby that simply stopped, halfway to term. And I grieved for these friends, recognizing but unable to alleviate their pain, and ohmygod what was the point of anything, anyway? This sucks. Life sucks!
And then one of these bereaved wrote in her own blog, posted about the progress of her grief: she was still devastated, and heartsick, and she was...out of peanut butter. Also lunchmeat. Also cheese. She was bereft, still doing some daily crying...but she had to gather her wits and her Kleenex and make a Costco run, because, you know, the kids needed sandwiches.
I'm not doing it justice, what that story did to me--how moving I found it, how beautifully banal that task. Costco! Death and heartbreak and a brick of Kraft singles, because no matter how painful or poignant or random fate can be, eventually you have to get up. Run the errands, feed the family, write it down.
It reiterated the philosopy about death that I've privately held for some time: that, if you wake up in the morning, if you're still Here, then there must be something left in this world that you're supposed to do. Originally I attached some pretty noble/vain aspirations to myself, out of this...but at 40, I've allowed that perhaps My True Purpose On This Earth is not necessarily to cure cancer, or attain the Presidency, or even write that blockbuster bestseller that gets me on Oprah. Maybe my purpose is smaller in scope, or meant to be taken a day at a time. Maybe today's task is only to put something between two slices of bread. Nourish someone. Nourish myself. Find the words, write it down. Tomorrow, maybe it'll be something else.
Anyway, I'm back. I thought: if she can do it, I can. If my friends and loved ones can push through their own respective sorrows, keep thinking and writing, can move and inspire me...well, I have nothing much to complain about, do I? Life is heartrending, and hilarious, and Warren Zevon was right: Enjoy every sandwich. So. I'm trying.
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I let my yard go completely to pot, last summer. We had a ridiculous heat wave, a streak of 100-plus-degree days that roasted everything in the garden, including the Endless Summer hydrangea I'd nursed along for several years. This spring, it remained resolute, nothing but twigs, D-E-D dead. So I let the whole planting bed go to hell, figuring I'd rent a rototiller this fall, tear everything down to dirt, resod the lawn, start over.
One evening last week, when I got home from work, something caught my eye from the front porch. A glimmer of blue among the weeds: