I miss being on the east coast right now because I’d love to be in the cold, goose pimply, scream-because-you-can’t-help-it ocean. After the heart-pumping shock, I’d like to float on my back and welcome the water to plug my ears. I’d marvel at the underwater sounds, the tiny gurgles and deep echoes. I’d work to steady my breath. I’d remember to float, not fight. The sun would warm my face and I’d squint to catch a glimpse of the sky. I’d let the ocean offer its calm.
If only the ocean was a short car ride away from landlocked Colorado. Instead, I roasted in the 100+ degree heat yesterday until I sought overnight refuge at a friend’s glacially chilled condo. It got so cold in the night I actually slipped on my jeans and went back to bed. I could have turned down the Air Conditioning- that would have been logical. But, in the wee hours of the morning, I thought putting on jeans would expend less energy than taking two steps into the hallway to turn up the thermostat. It can be said that I was sleepy. I think I was holding onto relief, not matter its extremes.
Maybe I want to float in the ocean because I need a decompression tank. My mind’s been grappling with so many unfathomable things of late: Hearing about the innocents who lost their lives watching a movie; wondering how my friends will cope with their child’s serious illness; watching other friends deal with major health issues, grief and divorces. At the same time I’m celebrating weddings, adoptions, birthdays. Plus, I’m setting new career and health goals for myself. Every spectrum of emotion is being represented. It’s awesome but overwhelming to see that so much can happen at once. It can. It does. It will keep doing so.
My mind is deep in thought with all these acute doses of reality. Lately, the doses have been dispensed fast and furious, like the fires that covered a portion of Colorado. I saw photos of people’s homes burnt totally to the ground. Nothing but white ash left to touch. And yet, people rebuild with nothing.
The lingering question on my mind while all these dramatic events are happening at once is the same question people asked during the fires: when will it all be contained?
It seems impossible to imagine life being resorted back to some kind of normal as things spiral out of control and require super human effort. Yet, somehow we can bring the wildest fire back to manageable again– with the help of others.
A friend of mine from Maine recently joked with me about contemplating ‘rubbish in space’. We like saying that phrase for two reasons.
1) rubbish is a fun word to say.
2) Even though garbage is always a concerning subject, imagining it suspended, cartoon-like against the backdrop of deep black space makes for a meditative distraction.
Garbage shouldn’t be floating anywhere, nor should it be dotting the face of the Himalayas but for a few seconds at least it keeps me from thinking about what’s happening here on street level.
Maybe that’s why I want to feel suspended in the ocean right now. The heart can only handle so much before the mind goes blank.