I've been watching TV for 3 days and am bored with it, but so dizzy I can't grade papers. So I'm hear, sharing my head cold with you. Isn't it amazing how, when you're sick, you feel like you were the first time you remember being sick in this way?
I remember a Christmas when I was so snotty I watched TV in my room as others ate and opened presents. I recall a spring around Easter when I was maybe 6 or 7 living in Oklahoma. I remember a park. Sunlight like dark chocolate around marshmallow. The warm air full of pollen. Green grass. Dandelions on my tongue.
I feel like whatever I am imagining that, if I stretch my hand out, the scene or the object will appear in front of me and I'll be magically transported back to that place and time. Such is the pain and miracle of sickness.
I forced myself to the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum annual fall plant sale yesterday morning in the chill (today it is 55 and misting, tomorrow it will be 90 and sunny with a 40mph south wind). I bought some asclepias speciosa and purpurascens, some liatris scariosa 'alba' (the purple version is STILL blooming praise be).
Do you stand out in the garden this time of year and think, man, I could put x plant right there and it'll look fantastic next year? Then, do you go buy x plant, stand out in the garden, and try to figure out where the heck it can go? Everything is still thick enough to guide you in placement, to see what can be wedged in where (unlike that infernal spring blankness), but still, the container hangs between the pinch of your thumb on the inside lip of the black plastic, and your pointer finger on the outside. And it hurts. You fingers hurt, you eyes hurt, the impatience is joy and interminable sorrow. Help me.
I've been replaying 80s songs in my head, because I was living in Oklahoma when I first remember being sick like this. The Police. The Cars. Men at Work. Belinda Carlisle. Golden Earring. Lyrics flood my mind in a jumbled haze like the bees, butterflies, soldier beetles, wasps, and flies flood the garden on a calm and sunny autumn day only weeks before the first frosts. There is panic and desire in the garden this time of year. Frustration and antsy fear.
I am wasting my life trying to heal myself, this earth, and I am doing exactly what I need to do, to be--sitting still, restarting, rebooting, making a list, pulling myself back like an arrow or a slingshot until the moment when I can let loose and make those edits to the memoir, read those books, send out those submissions, plant those asclepias and liatris, embrace the memory I am making and will return to decades from now. When the bullet hits the bone....
Yeah there's a storm on the loose
Sirens in my head
Wrapped up in silence all circuits are dead
Cannot decode my whole life spins into a frenzy
Help, I'm stepping into the twilight zone
Place is a madhouse feels like being cloned
My beacon's been moved under moon and star
Where am I to go now that I've gone too far?
(If you can sing those lyrics with the tune in your head, we are kindred souls--now FedEx me some Dayquil, or watch the video here)