Home Again: Followup to Hold On To Anything You Can

The sky is a crisp blue against the array of earth-toned leaves still hanging on to their perches. Squirrels dig, industrious, through the crackling fallen, searching out nuts, insects, whatever it is that squirrels search for at times like this. There are few birds; my feeders have been allowed to run empty, some weeks ago by the look of it. I’ll have to take them down and clean them all properly before refilling them.

I’m home. It’s good to think about such small things, about bird feeders and washing curtains and picking up clumps of dog hair from the carpet every few hours. I like loading my dishwasher, doing laundry, cleaning the counter, weeding my absurdly overgrown garden. It’s a ritual of nesting for me, a system of settling back into my Real Life.

I’ve also been sleeping a lot, aided by my good friend NyQuil. I don’t exactly have bronchitis, but close enough to make no difference in treatment. I knew I’d get sick once I got home. I’ve been Refusing To Stop for months now. Getting up at 3 a.m., at 6 a.m., at 8 a.m., staying up until one or two p.m., managing a brief nap, up again by 3 p.m. and working until around 11 p.m. Normally, I don’t get up before ten a.m., and I require a solid 6-8 hour block of uninterrupted sleep in order to function properly the following day.

My dog snores. It makes me laugh every time I hear it. I like laughing. I haven’t been able to genuinely laugh often enough in the past months. As I laugh, I feel another knot of tension and fear dissolving. It’s good to be home.

I check Twitter and shake my head at how fast things are changing. I’ve written two blog posts in the past few days, and both are languishing in draft because they’re out of date already. Jill Stein has begun filing for recounts, and Hillary Clinton is backing her.

Some things haven’t changed. Cops are still shooting unarmed black kids. Black Friday shoppers are wrecking stores. Trump continues to be a complete and total jackass. Flint still doesn’t have water. The Dakota pipeline protest is a gigantic mess on multiple fronts.

Of the plants remaining green in my garden, the pineapple sage is the most impressive: it stands tall and splayed out, bright red flower spears vibrant against the frost-damaged foliage piling up nearby.

One of my neighbors walks by with his grey and white dog, its fluffy tail signaling excited curiosity about everything it sees. Kids bundled up in thick jackets meander along, immersed in their cell phone screens. Now and again someone jogs down the road, determined to work off that Thanksgiving feast, headphones on, gaze high and stern, fixed on the Goal Of Fitness.

Over the last few weeks, I routinely had to call my husband or a friend while grocery shopping. I would get overwhelmed, my brain would quit functioning, and I’d be standing in the middle of the store just staring at the shelves, muttering to myself like a madwoman. I needed someone to talk to, someone to just say “you’re okay, you’re okay, you’re okay” over and over, to ground me in myself again.

Driving was occasionally a terrifying experience.

I’ve added several new seeds to my Pandora feed. It’s now laced with hip-hop, rap, and techno. I’m particularly fond of Daft Punk lately. I’m also enjoying older heavy metal, the less polished iterations of Motley Crüe and Iron Maiden and Metallica. At the same time, I’m aware of the seriously gross content of many of the songs: the macho, women-serve-me attitude inherent in the genre at that time. I’m dismantling old thought patterns as I listen, tracing back behavior and belief to various sources, checking whether that agrees with where I am today, reshaping and refitting.

Another neighbor goes by, this time with a brown dog, perhaps a Weimaraner. I’ve always wanted one of those gorgeous, gentle pups. My husband is tidying up the yard, using the leaf-blower to push the unkempt piles of fallen foliage into a useful compost pile amongst the trees.

Ron Glass and Florence Henderson have died: just two more names for the 2016 Wall Of Those We Lost. Brietbart has a foot in the White House. Swastikas are spray-painted on mosque walls. Fake news is a real thing–and may have swung the election in Trump’s favor.

I’m feeling a lot better today, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I’m finding ways to balance all the aspects of reality. Later today, I might even manage some fiction writing.

It’s good to be home.

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This post is part of the #HoldOnToTheLight series. Details below.

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