Diapers and Dragons

Friday, October 24, 2008

Seasons

Today I took a Mental Health Day.

This is what people in many professions, including mine, label a sick day we take when we aren't really sick in the virus-bacteria-doctor's visit sort of way. What it usually means in my profession is that all the stress is really getting to us and we can't wait for the next official holiday to take a break. Because, you know, we can't work from home or take a nice coffee break in the middle of the day or just spend most of the time online instead of actually doing work. Which is what I'm assuming the rest of the world does at such moments, and which probably condemns me to the same level of asinine assumption-making that so many people make about teaching.

So I'm a hypocrite. Fabulous.

Anywho, I slept in this morning as much as my kidlets would let me and then hied them off to school a good two-and-a-half hours later than usual. Where they proudly strutted about in their super cool new Spiderman and Hobgoblin shirts that have the amazing jack-o-lantern that ACTUALLY FLASHES with LEDs when one taps it. I know it's not Halloween quite yet, but they have their official Halloween party tonight at school and besides, what do they know?

I've spent the remainder of the day moving about somewhat listlessly, folding clothes from the many baskets of clean laundry that seem to magically appear during the week, catching up on all my TV shows sitting quietly on the DVR, and ruminating over My Life. It appears, from what is showing up on a number of the blogs that I visit each day, that there is a pall of depression coating its melancholy upon many of us these days. I'm no exception. For various reasons both too personal and/or professional to write here, the last several weeks have been particularly difficult. Yesterday I had such a lump of leaden pain in my belly and was so otherwise occupied mentally that I was rendered nearly useless in the classroom. I decided that I needed a day to Think.

It's Autumn: a season that, while my favorite, still holds a bittersweet quality for me. There is incredible beauty in the blazing glory of autumnal trees. The sweet-tart-spicy flavor of crisp apples, bold cider, and moist donuts make each weekend visit to the cider mill a delight. The aroma of fireplace smoke wafts through the sharp cool of the air. And yet all of this comes at the price of death: of leaves, of gardens, of warmth, of another year passing too swiftly. Winter approaches.

My life, too, is passing through a bittersweet season. We all have them, and as Nathaniel Hawthorne says wisely in The Scarlet Letter, it is the experience of sorrow as well as joy that makes us fully human. It may be that I am entering a winter in my life, and that the death of certain dreams, ideas, and things that I hold close to me are coming.

Yet Winter also has a purpose. The death that brings Autumn to a close is not a permanent one. There is a cycle, and for new life to grow, for new beings to come forth, there must be a time of lying in wait beneath the snow. For the cold of snow holds a strange mystery: what lies beneath is sheltered. We call the snow a "blanket" with more wisdom than we know. With the new warmth of Spring, the promise and hope that Winter keeps fast is nurtured as the snow melts to become the very source of life needed for growth.

Perhaps I need an Autumn, even a Winter, in my life, to give death to that which I only think I need or which no longer serves a purpose in my life, and give way to the hope of Spring.

And remind me of what, and who, is worth nurturing 'til then.

3 bits of love:

Glenn said...

Dearest, I hear the sorrow and the wisdom and the yearning and the grasping for health and hope. May all be well. Thanks for talking -- Mom

Katy said...

Aww...I hope your spring comes quickly!

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