It’s been a long day and I didn’t even get up to the studio today.

Last night a veneer fell off my front tooth. I was eating a banana. I know that I am getting older, but I didn’t expect it all to be quite this comic. No one was home – E. is offshore – but I still felt terribly uncomfortable. I had no idea I was this vain. So this morning began with a rush visit to a new dentist whose face I never saw (yay, Corona).

I finished the edits on the layout for the new book – but my brand-new printer is smearing ink over the very expensive sheets of 200 g paper. It just got worse from there. Small drips – enough to wind me up. I did lazy yoga on the mat while Leonard tried to coach me. Then we went for a walk. From the sound of the wind and rain against the window now – we got back just in time.

My head is fill with practicalities. To-do lists. Remember this chants. “Find time to … ” I am finding it difficult to slow down. Everything in me is immediate, rushed, speeding. I think it always has been. But you’d never guess it if you met me. Stanislavski talked about internal rhythms and external tempos, and actors work to make that internal rhythm visible. But mine isn’t.

My ex-husband was a man of very few words, and he commented after the divorce that we lived in two different tempos. It took him years to understand that.

People have always called me intense. And they mean it as a criticism. I bite my tongue every time, and am always just as surprised that anyone would think it is okay to comment on another person’s… what? Mind?

When my oldest son was 4 and my youngest began crawling for the first time, my oldest was furious. “He’s not supposed to do that!” It’s human nature to want other people to conform to our fixed ideas of them. Sometimes I think it’s the primary way we hurt one another. There are the obvious issues like racism, of course. But in such tiny ways, too. When someone changes their hair, or their wardrobe. I once saw someone fly into a rage when a person they offered some chocolate to said they didn’t really care for chocolate. “You’ve always liked chocolate!” Ridicule will wedge someone back into their box.

We cling to our world views. Our views of one another. Maybe this is the place to begin when trying to find equanimity. Sometimes when I move through the yoga sequence I sing “Let it Be” in my head.

Let it be. Doing anything else is futile. Because it all falls apart. Even expensive dental veneers.

moving through the day
two steps ahead of myself
like a prophet
of some sort, fixed on the plan
getting myself in trouble

Wet hair and hot tea, a blue sky and a quiet house – but for the noises Leonard is making with his mouth. I’m not sure what that’s about. I’m heading into work in an hour. And I can feel the muscles in my back tense at the thought. I had no idea that I had such a need for predictability. Stability. The past 13 months of Covid restrictions changing almost daily – an outlining of new regulations followed by two pages of exceptions – I have thrown my arms in the air like one of those gas station inflatable tube figures. I wish I were more vocal, I would growl impressively, or roar. Instead I curse. That’s hardly charming.

After work I will go up to the studio and paint a little, and sew the new books. And everything will be all right again. I just need to rise above it until then – float over turmoil and the drama and the sudden jettisoning of work done for new assignments. Go with the flow – the rush – the flood – because fighting it is useless and self-destructive. How are we all not cowering in corners by now?

Maybe I need a good day in the mountains. This time last year, we were hiking with clementines and tea in our packs. Well, in E.’s pack. I was doing yoga on the flat boulders. Maybe there is some truth to the idea that our minds and bodies are so connected that a stiffening of one results in the stiffening of the other?

I didn’t choose a word for this year. But am very surprised that it is probably “brittle”. I feel brittle.

In some ways.

My internal life right now is actually very rich. I am writing and making things with my hands. I am reading and listening to interesting podcasts. Learning. So maybe it is all perfectly fine. Maybe this year isn’t brittle at all. Maybe it’s enclosed, like a tortoise, an oyster, a cocoon. I’m not a silver lining kind of gal, so that’s not what I am doing here. What is, is. To take a step back and see a larger picture doesn’t mean to search for compensation for having to accept what we don’t like. I think that’s a kind of religious thinking: God takes away and God gives. I guess some people find that comforting? I know we throw out those kinds of platitudes hoping to comfort people who are grieving, but I have yet to hear anyone say that it helps them to hear it. “Look at the bright side: I’m going to beat you bloody, but give you a cookie.”

No. I don’t see this little period of creativity that I am experiencing as compensation for anything in my life past or present. It just is.

And I know I shouldn’t cling to it. And as soon as I think this, I start to feel fear rise: what if it stops? What if I don’t have any ideas tomorrow? What if?

And I take a sip of my tea and take a deep breath and laugh at myself.

Clinging desperately is a habit. I think my spirit animal is a gecko.

All things change. Everything is impermanent. I can tell and retell my story any way I want. And it is probably best for me not to think of it as punishment and compensation. It just is.

Leonard is growling at my feet. Dreaming. I wonder if he remembers his dreams? Is disappointed when he wakes to find himself here in the bibliotekette instead of hiking in the mountains on this pretty day?

I wonder if he has a story?

I still don’t know what
people mean by it’s a dog’s life
– isn’t it our lives:
arbitrary, according
to who yanks our chain?