Friday, May 06, 2005

In The Midst Of Winter

For the last two months I have been carrying around a jumbo size cup filled with depression. I have tried to move carefully while holding it knowing that surface tension was the only thing keeping it from spilling over. Some time between going to bed the night before last and waking up yesterday morning it spilled. I woke up very early feeling nothing and everything. As the day progressed I found it harder and harder to concentrate on any one thing for very long. My thoughts bounced around in my mind like popping corn. For most of the day I pinballed from one emotion to another with listlessness, agitation, sadness, fear, panic, and anxiety being the main ones . My whole body was in pain, not physical pain but some kind of mental anguish that felt like the memory of some past body injury. The pain was so unbearable that a couple of times I felt nauseous from the need to throw it up. By the end of the day I was both wired and exhausted.

This morning I woke up feeling panic scuffling around the edges of my consciousness. I knew if I did not get up and moving it would catch up with me so I quickly got out of bed. I then dressed and hurried outside deciding as I closed the front gate behind me to walk down to the river. When I got there I was met with a cacophony of bird sounds. There were quacks, squeaks, honks, whistles, huffs, cackles, trills, screeches, hoots, and coos. I walked to where the sounds seemed to be the loudest and sat on the bank overlooking the water to listen.

As I sat there I noticed how green everything had become since the last time I had been there. Grass was growing, trees were leafing, and so many reeds were sprouting in the river that it was in danger of being overrun by them. I had forgotten how many different colors of green there are in the world. I could see a Crayoloa Crayon box full of greens; olive greens, green yellows, spring greens, pine greens, yellow greens, forest greens, and just plain old green greens.

I let the sound of the birds fill my ears and the colors of the grasses, plants, and trees fill my eyes. I could feel the fog of depression in my soul begin to dissipate. I watched for movement in the trees and bushes and was rewarded with the sight of redwing blackbirds (male and female), robins (male and female), a flicker, a blue jay, a goldfinch, doves, and a pair of mallards. Then something on the other bank of the river caught my eye and I found myself staring at a pair of young mule deer standing there watching me. The slight rotation of my head caused one of them to turn tail and bound away into the brush in fright but the other one watched me for a few more seconds before slowly turning around to follow the first one up into the trees.

I must have sat there for about 20 minutes and when I finally got up the sense of panic was gone and a soothing calmness had filled my being. As I walked back to town I heard the call of a meadow lark in a field across the road. That sound, for me, always carries with it the scent of loneliness and for split-second the surface of my calm broke but then quickly smoothed over.

Some times the universe hands you an unexpected gift. This morning was mine.

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