A deep breath this morning as I sit down. Salted coffee, and blackbirds outside the window. I didn’t write yesterday, but spent a full day with a new printer: learning to adjust for paper weights, manual feed, and double-sided pages. A lot of trial and error. Small steps forward. Or sideways.

No: I am moving forward again.

I don’t remember exactly how old I was when I got my first pair of glasses. But I remember looking at a tree and realizing that you are supposed to see the individual leaves on trees. My eyesight had deteriorated so gradually I hadn’t noticed what I had lost of the world.

This week I feel like I can see the leaves on the trees. It’s not that life is less crowded, but it is more vibrant. Distinguishing the foreground from the background, wresting meaning from it all is easier.

There is a saying that things having gradually then all at once. But these past years, things happened all at once, and then so gradually that I thought changes were improvements, or at least adjustments. I didn’t see the signs of depression because the everyday problems were so tiny compared to the crisis that began it all. How could I be having trouble getting through the day when the worst was over a long time ago?

My world is popping back into three dimensions. Other people seem more substantial. I realize how odd that sounds. I don’t mean that in comparison with how I perceived myself, I have been insubstantial, too. That is what depression does. In my case the desperate search for meaning and pleasure can look like business, like creativity or a “spark” of joy. But the spark is just me bumping against the metallic edge of panic. Wheels spinning, and life is just so much harder than it needs to be. Pinched.

When the doctor asked me if I was depressed, I said I didn’t think so. I said I was overwhelmed, hypomanic. But now I see.

Now I feel like crying. And that is a very good thing.

Last night walking Leonard in the dark, I heard the wheeeEEE of the pterodactyls lapwings. They are back, so it is officially spring. Officially a time to mark new beginnings.

under the streetlight
wet paw prints, footsteps glisten
temporarily
like loved ones gone by morning
after a crossing over

This morning I look in the mirror and see the swollen half-moons under each eye. I’m still dealing with insomnia. I grab a coffee mug and open the sliding door to let Leonard out into the yard. The snow is coming in nearly perpendicular to the earth, and half-melting the moment it touches anything. The table outside is covered with a gray slush and hailstones. Leonard comes in again, wet and miserable, heading straight for the treat cupboard.

I’m on a second cup of coffee before I even sit down to write.

My morning routine has sort of toppled on its head. Yoga and meditation when and if I force myself. But I know all things circle back and am trying to be patient with myself. No whipping. May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you live with ease.

I’ve cleared my calendar again, to settle down with mint tea and a book of poems. This afternoon: Camille T. Dungy’s Trophic Cascade. I am having a difficult time giving in to relaxation. But I would be lying if I tried to convince anyone that the guilt I have means I am actually getting anything done. Housework. Yard work. I honestly don’t know how the hours are leaving my presence so empty.

I lay on the shakti mat and listen to a podcast. I eat. I long to go running. Or rather, I long to want to go running again. Patience.

Leonard nudges my arm so I will lift it out of his way, and he lays his head on my chest and stares at me. I have no idea what is going on in his head when he does this. Sometimes he will lift his head and, very tenderly, bite the tip of my nose. Honestly, it’s as uncomfortably intimate as it is amusing.

The clocks spring forward in a little over a week. Which means that the mornings will be dark again. I am already mentally preparing. After that, Easter, and then headlong towards summer. It’s only this year that I am conscious of the ambivalence I feel when I become aware of myself wanting summer to come soon. In wanting the days to fly by. I have no idea if I am late to this understanding? Late to understanding the value in savoring all of the days? Sometimes I catch myself counting backwards. From 95 on a good day. From 100 on days when my respect for science totters on the edge of faith. Then I remind myself that there is no guarantee and that to put off really paying attention to the days until I am retired may not be the wisest of plans. What are those seven regrets again? And why on earth am I thinking of them now?

You know. I don’t think I’m going to regret not doing the dishes right now.

I’ve got a book of poems and an overgrown puppy.

the cold winds squeezing
between the sash and the sill
intermittent taps
reminding you of the world
beyond the quilt and the tea