An hour has slipped by and my body is getting heavier. I have felt like sleeping these past few days. I am a soft kind of tired now. Leonard is lying just behind my chair now, on the cold floor instead of his usual spot on the rug. When I am done writing, I will lie on the bed with the thin quilt my grandmother made when I was born. Leonard will lie on the floor in the bedroom, too, even though he usually jumps up when the dog-proof comforter is spread over the sheets. But he runs hot and though it isn’t even 18 degrees Celcius, he’s overheating easily. He won’t want to snuggle. Too warm. Yesterday on the walk, he cut me off after a half-hour and pulled toward home. Not even the rain helped.

I have a difficult time making terms with the weather these days – when the heat seems like a waste when the sky is so gray and so deceptive. The long-term forecast shows eight days of overcast skies and rain. It shouldn’t matter. I know that. And I know that the sunshine probably wouldn’t make me more energetic. It would probably just mean another nap. At first. But I believe that it would seep in and waken something within me. Something vital.

“Listen to your body”. My body is saying that fish oil is not a substitute for sunshine. That the best way to release two years of tension might not be to push through to something new. I don’t even know what the hell I am striving towards.

It is difficult to turn off panic mode, the “run in any other direction as fast as possible” mode. There is so much I need to sort through. Both in terms of objects and in terms of thoughts. I need to lift each item of clothing, fold it, and determine how to sort it. Each random tube of mascara, every compact with eye shadow. Cerulean blue? Keep it or toss it? Where did it even come from?

I need to take each memory and hold it up and disconnect it from the thrashing, toothy emotion. Where did it even come from? And what does one do with such beasts?

Maybe they are leaving me now, all on their own, as I run hill repeats, flow through yoga sequences, and nap. Maybe they are leaving me ragged. And maybe poems will seep from the wounds.

I wonder if I can convince myself that this overcast sky is the thin white sheet of a blanket fort keeping the sun off my nose. That this day is an early afternoon rest between running through the sprinklers. And that soon the world will smell like charcoal and beef, and the fireflies will rise from the grass like so many fairies. The sweet kind of fairies, with fistfuls of pixie dust.

I’ve had an unwanted hiatus from writing. Growing is always difficult, and some things must lie fallow while other things bloom. That was “svulstig”*, I know. But the metaphor does the job of conveying the truth.

*grandiloquent – but not exactly. Try saying them out loud. Svulstig feels much more bloated in your mouth, pressing around your tongue. While something grandiloquent trips in high heels.

On Saturday I gave a short speech on behalf of my ex-husband and myself. Our son was finally able to enjoy an elegant wedding after two years of Covid kicking the can down the road.

My son has always hated it when I code-switch. He said he grew up thinking Norwegian words were legitimate English words because I tend to use the best word. What else to do but to code-switch in the speech? Kjærlighet means more to me than the word love. Most likely because it isn’t my native tongue. Love is overused, misused, and abused. What do we love? French fries and argyle socks (maybe not). I have never heard the world kjærlighet used in such a way. If it is a matter of my ignorance of the Norwegian vernacular, that’s all right. Language is private and public, subjective and contextual. Someone will always correct us when we think we have found the perfect expression.

I have to admit though, I like the Danish pronunciation better, with its abrupt K at the beginning – like a “catch”. Then the j there, quiet but like a hook. And the suffix “het” makes it a phenomenon. The Danish language is tough. I like that such a word has a toughness to it. A strength that comes from the gut.

You don’t “fall into” kjærlighet. It is something that arises. It is a different word than “to love”: å elske. To fall in love is to be forelsket. Kjærlighet is more than a feeling.

As I was writing the speech, I kept thinking about how it felt to have E. on my hip when he was small. How I’d lift him by one arm and he’d swing in like a little monkey, wrapping his legs around my waist. It is such an intense physical memory it brings tears to my eyes. It manifests a very different kind of kjærlighet. But still, a phenomenon that arises as an atmosphere and permeates the years. Still.

On Saturday night at the reception, on several occasions, my E. now taller than me would wrap his arm around my waist to comfort me. Include me.

There is a poem here that I will write. But for now –

I can’t find the word I want. It isn’t bittersweet. There is no bitterness here. Some language must have a word for this. I am not the first parent to be overwhelmed by an atmosphere that has somehow accumulated years of experiences, emotions, ambitions, hopes, disappointments, and failures. Short-comings and (undeserved) pride.

I didn’t say all this on Saturday. Lord knows they all think I am odd as it is. The day-after blues had me concerned that I was the white trash at the ball again. But the world is still settling, and I am thinking someday I might actually outgrow my insecurities.

Might. Yesterday I was notified my grant application was rejected. No explanation. That stings a bit. I am in the process of looking for the people who lift me up. Walking a fine line of clinging to old achievements and planning to forge through this current.

I saw an ad on social media this morning for decoy wasp hives. The guy said that 2022 is going to be a wasp year.

I am choosing to interpret that as an omen.