Change of Pace


A couple nights ago I began reading the book Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier which had been on my shelves for a while waiting for it to be the right time to read it.

As I delved into the novel, the opening paragraph for the third chapter stopped me in my tracks as it seemed to be speaking directly to me. The passage:

“I cannot decide whether it is an illness or a sin, the need to write things down and fix the flowing world in one rigid form. Bear believed that writing dulled the spirit, stilled some holy breath. Smothered it. Words, when they’ve been captured and imprisoned on paper, become a barrier against the world, one best left unerected. Everything that happens is fluid, changeable. After they’ve passed, events are only as your memory makes them, and they shift shape over time. Writing a thing down fixes it in place as surely as a rattlesnake skin stripped from the meat and stretched and tacked to a barn wall. Every bit as stationary, and every bit as false to the original thing. Flat and still and harmless. Bear recognized that all writing memorializes a momentary line of thought as if were final.”

I’ve moved on in the book now, but I’ve come back to that passage several times.

In January when I wrote my last big post, the passage probably would not have registered with me as all that significant, yet now, I find it to be absolutely brilliant. The reason? Everything in the last several months seems to have been as Frazier describes – so fluid and ever changing – that every time I tried to commit my thoughts to keyboard, they seemed irrelevant, old news, no longer applicable before I could hit “publish.”

In the past months I’ve written or thought through dozens of posts that never made it to fruition. Frustration and self-doubt were getting the better of me until finally I realized sometimes you just have to live your life, see where it leads, then talk about it. I’m still on the path to “Better”, but it’s unlike anything I imagined seven months ago.

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Today my husband and I took a Mental Health Day. Of course, being the list-making, organizing, always planning, anal retentive that I am, I began planning our day off three weeks in advance. I picked a day that worked well for my work schedule and my husband’s, was in close proximity to my husband’s birthday, and that my BFF was available to look after our daughter. And, since we had summer passes to Busch Gardens that were still valid, you can guess where we were planning to go. All we had to do was get up and out the door early.

At 6:30am it was raining.  Torrentually. But we had the day off so we were determined to make the best of it and stick with the plan- albeit at a slower pace. My husband checked the weather radar while I packed up the baby’s stuff. There was some of discussion of “rain-free windows” and a few declarations of “it’ll be fine.” And when it was all said and done, it was.

We left the house two hours later than planned, but we had a nice drive down, dropped off the baby, and made it to the ferry just in time to be loaded on and cross the river. The rain moved off and the sun came out. The park wasn’t overly crowded and the wait lines for the rides weren’t too long. We rode rollercoasters and ate over priced food. We shared pudding and strawberries, and stood in line with an endless stream of sweaty boyscouts. We talked about important stuff like the smooth ride of the Griffon versus the herky jerky one of the Alpengeist. We held hands.

After the park, we had dinner at a local Mexican restaurant with our friends and listened to live music while we ate. On the way home again our daughter announced that she had a “poopie diaper” just in time to save us from running out of gas on the Interstate. Finally, hours later than expected, we made it back home safely, somehow missing the severe weather going on all around us.

It wasn’t a perfect day, but it was a really good one. We took time out from the rollercoaster that is our lives and we rode real rollercoasters. We spent time together and with friends, we appreciated the good things in our lives and didn’t think or talk about the bad. It was a welcome break from our routine, and a reminder that sometimes you really do need to stop and smell the roses. Or as this day proved, the sweaty boyscouts.