Autumn arrives in undulations. Summer returns every day or two, and sometimes in a single afternoon. But the light is already sickly, his burly energy withering like dried sap.
Every new season alights as an accusation: "And what have you done with the last season? All summer, and where are your book edits?" I have done what I could, so I am not as frustrated with myself as I could be. I think I am frustrated with the way life sometimes feels like a rug beneath my feet, being pulled by forces which are not mine. I am on someone else's ground, ground which can, at any moment, be yanked from beneath my feet.
Someone else's ground.
First it was school, then it was work, now it is motherhood and work. Can anyone afford a creative life? I am lucky, you know, to be yoked to another person, someone who is willing to help and support me. Soon, I will be able to quit my early morning job, maybe sleep like a child sleeps (that is, enough). Sleep alone has the power to heal most wounds.
Shortly after that, we can start daycare for the baby (who is almost a toddler!). Just a few days a week, only mornings. Just the thought of it makes my muscles relax, instinctively. She is a wild, wild, child with a bright brain that is never satisfied and emotions that she can't yet name. When we go to the dog park, she charges into the fray of barking, tumbling dogs, wild to be a part of the action, gleeful when they knock her down. At home, she has fits of hysteria for no reason, and I let her watch too much TV, a desperate salve to distract her rages. But she craves friendship and novelty- maybe daycare can give her that. Just another month or two, then she'll be ready. Then I can write in a cafe, can have a few hours without her screams, her tugging on my leg.
No matter how eager I am to be creatively productive during the day, I am always exhausted by the time she goes to sleep, with enough brain activity to power a 90's sitcom, nothing more. Naps are for researching for a professor and very quick cleaning (she rarely lets me clean when she's awake).
I know a few things, and one of those is that mindless distraction is not truly restful, not in the way I need it to be. The only rest is deep-souled presence in the pulse of God. This means letting the self de-strand into its original molecules: let it disintegrate into a single candle flame, the taste of tea.
This centered act of love- for self, world, other, is hard to maintain in the draining world of constant action, constant defeated entertaining, laying on the couch with her while she watches a baby show because she screams if I try walking away and bangs on my laptop of I try to write.
Sleep, sleep, sleep, I plead, which is its own sort of prayer.