February 2007


Once a week I go out to do my errands; go grocery shopping, and the other essential things that I’m not able to do during the week. Whenever I go out for this purpose, I always take the same route, and on this route is a wonderfully grand house that no one seems to live in anymore. The house is huge, although this isn’t a rare quality in houses in this area, and it is not this quality that strikes my fancy. But it is huge, and should me mentioned whether it strikes my fancy or not, for it is part of it’s character in a way. What seems to me to set it apart from the other houses of it’s size is the history that seems so easy to perceive when looking at it. When you look upon this house, you can almost see from where it has come….you can hear the children laughing as they run from room to room, playing some childhood game; you can almost see the brilliant light coming from the windows when the dusk lays her dark veil upon the earth, and the warm fire glowing in the fireplace, warming the happy faces of those that live within. And sometimes, I can even imagine a garden, laden with the scent of roses and lavender, where a young man might have pledged eternal love to the young lady of his dreams, and then being met with sweet kisses from the cause of his adoration. It is indeed one of those houses…one where each birth and death, every joy and sorrow are somehow etched into every corner and niche. The house seemed to wear it’s history on it’s sleeve, so to speak…at least in my eyes.

A few days ago, when I was en route for my weekly errands, I looked for the house as I always do, in an attempt to guess something more from it’s past. I was met, instead, by a smoldering pile of rubble. Apparently this empty house had burned down the night before. I was aghast…it was an unbelievable sight to me and the realization of it’s being gone hit me like a blow. I found myself grieving for the ghosts of the past that were now no longer able to roam those hallowed halls that had played such an important role in their physical lives. And I also found myself grieving for me, for I would no longer be able to live vicariously though this house’s past, or at least what I had imagined that past to be. I was truly saddened over the whole thing…where shall the real memories that surrounded this house go? Is there anyone that remembers, and will share those lovely tidbits with the world? Or will this lonely, empty house be forgotten entirely in our chaotic and far too busy lives? If anything, the spirit of this glorious house shall live on in my heart, even if that spirit is only what I, myself, have concocted. The ghosts of yesteryear will live on within my imaginary memories, and the house itself will live on in it’s grand splendour, even if only within the confines of my sometimes-too-romantic imagination. At least it’s not a total loss, right?

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As of late, I feel I’ve been rather obsessed with winter. It’s hard not to be…I have 6 foot piles of snow in my yard from the snow taken out of the driveway; I wake up to a brisk –15F more mornings than I can count these days; and whenever I look out my window, I see a huge mound of snow and ice teetering on the edge of the roof, seemingly waiting for some innocent squirrel or bird to hop underneath to finally come crashing down. But despite my seeming obsession, I’ve been reminded quite a bit lately that this too shall pass.

While Winter is notorious for bringing ice, snow, and frigid temperatures, it also brings with it light (although I tend to think it does this begrudgingly). During Autumn, the days became dark and dreary, but with the Winter comes the lengthening of the days. Each day, as I look out onto the frozen tundra-esque landscape, I notice it staying lighter just a bit longer in the evenings, and the sun peeping up over the horizon a bit earlier in the morning. And each day, as I am noticing these changes, it’s almost if one can hear the ancient maples groaning and stretching their gigantic arm-like branches toward the sky, their internal alarm clocks ticking more loudly in anticipation of that awakening soon amidst the sun and warmth. Even they know it won’t be long.

The animals also seem to notice the abundance of light these days. The birds seem to fly a bit higher among the clouds, and sing a bit more joyfully in the treetops. The littler animals don’t scurry quite as quickly, in want of a warm nest to burrow in to. The wind, apparently wanting to get in on the action too, seems a bit less blustery at times, almost as if it’s getting itself ready to breeze through the fields, to tell the wildflowers it’s secrets.

Yesterday, I had to run some errands, and I noticed that since the temperatures had gone up a bit, the snow had started to melt in some areas. This tiny bit of thawing was enough to bring on just a touch of the smell of Spring…that smell of newness and life; of green fields, wild flowers and gentle rain.

I know we have some time until Winter is officially over here in the “North Country”. But these things have given me hope that it will be here sooner than we think. Soon, I’ll be able to walk without the trouble of a bulky winter jacket, feeling a warm breeze in my hair rather than the cold, blustery wind that bites my nose and cheeks. No more mittens, no more gloves or boots. Just think of how much time I’ll have on my hands! I may just end up having time for that book I was going to read through the Winter…

The past few weeks have been hellish for me. Too many things going on, and no time to get done what needs to be done. I feel, quite often, that I have far too much on my plate, and the pressure is enormous. I want peace in my life…less chaos would be wonderful. And diversions of the “computerly” kind are great, but only a “band-aid” so to speak. Once I’m done, the stress hits me again, right between the eyes. But as much as I can keep going here, showing the little cracks in what some might think are my seemingly perfect life, this piece was never meant to be about me…

I have an online friend named “Amelia”. I “met” her on a message board where we share a few mutual interests, about 3 years ago or so. Amelia is one of those people that you instantly admire. She’s witty, smart, and her classiness shines through in everything she says. Her talent for writing is remarkable in it’s elegance and humour, and she is one of the people that I’ve often looked to for inspiration in my own writing (although I’m not sure if she knows that).

Why am I going on about this? Well, Amelia found out recently that her husband, “Jonathan”, has Alzheimer’s Disease. This has taken years to find out definitively, and I know that it has taken it’s toll on Amelia. Imagine trying to help someone that you love, but not knowing why they have the problem to begin with. For a short amount of time, it seemed that the diagnosis was something very fixable. Oh how I wish that it had been. But through it all, Amelia has had such grace and acceptance, despite the fact this has to be so heart wrenching for her. She truly is an amazing person, and I can honestly say that those of us who know her are blessed by her example that she has shown throughout this tremendous ordeal. Her example is definitely one to be emulated.

Back to what I was originally writing about…. what I’ve been going through as of late. It’s so easy to get caught up in our own little troubles, thinking that no one could possibly understand how difficult a time we are having. Until, of course, something like what Amelia is going through gives us a nice big…and well deserved….slap of reality. It’s easy to whine, until you see someone who is truly going through so much more, and yet greets each day with such grace and joy. It makes one think outside of themselves, that’s for sure.

Here’s to Amelia and Jonathan. It’s my hope that, while there is little I can do for them, that this silly little piece will somehow let them know that I am at least thinking of them. And that thought may bring them some comfort.

The next few weeks (I hope only weeks) are looking to be rather daunting right now, and so I’m taking some time off from the “online” world. I’m sure that the scores of people that actually take the time to read my blog are going to be horribly depressed! 😉 But hopefully it won’t be for long, and I’ll be able to get back and write some more. I’ve found it to be a wonderful diversion thus far, and it’s something I’d rather not part with permanently.

Sometimes, I can write an entire piece in my head, even before I sit down to type it out. I love those days. My mind is filled with a flurry of words and ideas, bursting to be set free. They just seem to all come together without too much nudging from yours truly. On those days, I love to write. Who wouldn’t, if it didn’t take any work?

Other days, it takes more effort. I have to actually think. This is not something I’m fond of doing (thinking, that is), at least not when it feels like work. So I go about my day, trying to think of something I find interesting enough to write about. Usually, it doesn’t take long…one thing or another happens which piques my interest, and off I go. While the words don’t flow quite as quickly, it’s still not too painful to extract them from a mind that is at least somewhat cooperative.

Today, I fit into neither of these categories. Today, it’s as if the cold and snow-filled wind have permeated into the recesses of my mind, and frozen everything that might be useful in trying to find something to write about. There are no thoughts drifting lazily around, just hoping to be plucked up and expanded upon. Each thought that might be of use seems to be walled up behind an impenetrable barricade. This, of course, makes things difficult. Sure, I could decide not to write today. Fine, that works. But then there is this small (and very persuasive) voice that seems to come from the depths of my very being, willing me to go forward. Urging me to try. “But there is nothing to write about!” I tell the voice earnestly. My pleas are met with persistence, to the point that I just can’t ignore it anymore. This leads me to where I am now. Trying to write something that just isn’t there. My mind is weary with thoughts that just can’t come together, and ideas that tiptoe away just as I attempt to dwell upon them. Writer’s block? Perhaps…but I’d much rather call it “uninspired inspiration”. It just sounds nicer.

Now I am looking back…seeing all that I’ve written despite not being able to write it. I guess I’ve been inspired by my uninspired inspiration. Good thing too…I’d hate to think I went through all of that agonizing work for nothing.

Insomnia. This is a word that I have very little affection for, and would choose to avoid it entirely for the rest of my life if I could (at least the practise of it). Unfortunately, it was something that was forced upon me last night.

Believe me, I wanted to sleep. I’d had a bit to drink, so my mind was already fuzzy and seemingly content. I was anxious to curl up underneath the warm blankets of my bed, and lose myself to the confines of peaceful slumber. But there were forces at work that were to deny me of that simple pleasure. Random thoughts, which seem to be content in flitting around the almost subconscious mind like tiny faeries with lovely gossamer wings, keeping you from that one thing that you want the most. So as I lay in my bed, trying to curl up and drift off to a heavenly sleep, these faeries were hard at work in an attempt to keep that bit of heaven from me. The worst part? It was working.

They really are diabolical little beings, these random thoughts. When they first flutter into your sleepy mind, they seem to be innocent and beautiful, which of course makes you want to dwell upon them. That’s the one thing that one should never do, for it gives them strength to carry out the evil mission they have been given in the first place. So, as I sleepily (and quite happily) let them flutter about, they knew they had me. It wasn’t too long until they moved in for the kill. The lovely thoughts became more random and required much more than a passing nod to get rid of them. I started to think of practical things; like what we were to have for dinner the next day? or did I make that phone call today that I was supposed to make? These evolved into more erratic thoughts, like why on earth did I have 2 glasses of rum, when only one would have sufficed? and what was I thinking when I bought that silly little hat the other day? I even had the entire contents of two blog entries written by the time it was done, which, much to my chagrin, seemed to fade away as the first rays of light appeared in the East. Of course, there were many other thoughts as well, which took up much more of my time, that will forever be mine and mine alone…

This whole time, there was a war being waged…my body, which craved sleep was trying to give into that desire, but those blasted little faeries weren’t going down without a fight. And apparently, they were winning the battle. 2 hours went by, and there I was, trying desperately to eradicate the demons from the confines of my thoughts. Finally, the tide turned, and the faeries unwillingly flew off…more than likely to torment yet another poor soul. My eyes grew heavy, and my thoughts finally dimmed into that dreamland where I so much wanted to be. Ah….sleep at last.

So, today should be interesting. I’m a bit sleepy, and desirous of an IV filled with some kind of mega-caffeinated beverage. I suppose a couple cups of coffee will have to do. But at least I have the consolation that things should be better tonight. I’ve found that being very tired is almost enough to stave those blasted random thoughts away long enough to get to sleep. I can only hope this is the case for me. To be sure, though, I think I’ll have a cup of chamomile tea before bed…..just in case.

I sat today, as I do most days, at my dining room table (which was “daylighting” as a rather large school desk) homeschooling my children and hoping to get through most of what needed to be done before lunch. Mind you, it’s Monday. No one wants to do school on a Monday, not even me. Yet here I was, plugging away as usual. Pretty boring, I know. My mind was on other things, which of course made it all the more harder.

“Mom…did I read that right?” asked my 7 year old for the third time.

“Oh…wait. I’m not sure, could you read it again?”

Big sigh from her, some rolling of the eyes, but she goes on to read the same passage again for the fourth time. By this time, of course, she’s reading it perfectly (who wouldn’t after 4 times?), and I have her go on to the next sentence. My thoughts drift off again, as they have been doing all morning….don’t think that the 7 year old was the only one plagued by a daydreaming instructor. Good thing they can’t give detentions.

I get out of the clouds long enough to notice that she’s having some trouble with a word. Alright, it’s time for Mom to buckle down. I ask what the sounds are, have her sound it out, and then have her read the word. Still no luck. She’s getting discouraged, and I’m getting antsy (blast Monday…it should be stricken from the calendar). Finally, I notice that the book is more in front of me than it is in front of her, so I take the book and turn it around so she can actually see it. She looks up at me and says “But how will YOU see it now?”. “Don’t worry,” I reply, “I can read upside down.”

Her eyes grow huge as she just stares at me for a minute or so. “You CAN?” she asks with amazement. I just smile and say “Of course I can.” Her eyes grow even larger, if that’s possible, and she says “Wow! You’re AWESOME!”

Of course I start to laugh, which gets her giggling, and then we finish the rest of her story. It’s funny how such a little thing can bring on such a huge amount of adoring amazement, and how much we take for granted. To my 7 year old, the whole concept of reading upside down is a feat only the most awesome can perform. I’m pretty sure, though, that I shouldn’t quit my day job and take that awe-inspiring act on the road. But far be it from me to tell my 7 year old daughter that….after all, in her eyes, that small action was enough to warrant her to tell me that I am AWESOME. That right there is pretty darn awesome.

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