I have this “image” in my mind. Except it’s not an imageI think it’s a sensual memory. Indistinct. Life of some sort in the palm of my hand. I curl my fingers inward to hold it, but carefully. This thing is delicate. Easily disfigured.

Easily killed.

A heartbeat flutters sketching a ghostly sonogram on my skin. It’s a game of peek-a-boo and “careful-careful” and I feel like a toddler not knowing how to control my body with tenderness. I feel like a toddler confronting the wonder of it all.

But these moments pass so quickly. Something shiny just out of reach catches my eye. And “living in the moment” too often means a singular attention focused on this immediate thing. Too often the drama.

And it means something irreparably damaged. Lost before I knew what it was.

There are so many variables that it is difficult to pinpoint what has triggered a change. Sleep. Medication. Aging, and all the inevitable events that follow: deaths of all kinds. Maybe the burnout was finally so complete that I can rise again like a phoenix. An awkward baby bird.

I’ve enjoyed the quiet. This quiet. It is someone worth holding on to.

And just touching this place this morning. Easing in.

It’s been nearly three months of quiet. Leonard has often lain here in the library, on his rug. I would think sometimes it was a gentle coaxing. But this time away from it all has been good for me.

A couple of times over the past years my doctor has asked me to consider taking time away in the hospital – to really get away from all the self-induced pressures and reset. From one perspective, I was offended she thought I was so very ill. From another, it seemed like a rich (wo)man’s self-indulgence and that made me terribly uncomfortable.

As it is I am privileged with a long summer vacation. And this year, quite unintentionally, I didn’t use it to write a book or improve myself in any way. I slept for eight weeks. Three-hour naps, early to bed, late to rise. Mindless television and exercise. All body, no mind. I shoved the guilt from my thoughts. I grieved. I properly grieved so many things.

Then I got up and cleaned house – every sock, every paperclip in place.

I am ready now for whatever is next.