Help, I’m Alive

I think if I could be anywhere right now…I’d be standing alone on a rocky overhang, toes curled trepidatiously over the edge, preparing to plummet into water as dark and glossy as silk.

cliff dive

There would be no rush. I’d take advantage of my hyper-awareness, reveling in the sensuality of the wind as it kissed the nape of my neck. I’d breathe in the fragrance of fresh water, breathe out all things toxic. Perhaps I’d do this until I was filled to the brim with pure, untainted oxygen.

I’d try to immortalize that anticipatory feeling. That indescribable sense of power, vitality, freedom. Of timelessness.

And then–with my heart beating thickly in my chest–I’d spread my arms, and fall.

Can you imagine the adrenaline rush? Transforming veins into live wire, fingertips and toes sizzling with electricity. Every atom screaming with life; not a single cell left unconscious, if only for a few fleeting seconds.

Gray sky, murky depths. Everything blurred together, like paint blended on a palette. Shrieking, hissing, biting wind: no longer a lover, but an enemy.

It must feel incredible, to relinquish everything to gravity like that. To hurtle deliriously toward a liquid abyss, a flailing bundle of flesh and blood and joy and fear. Of humanity. To challenge the transience of existence with one act of senseless bravery.

And then AND THEN the collision! The pressure! The air, ripped from lungs! No time to think. Just a velvety heaviness, every which way.

under water

The cold, so pure and overwhelming and utterly heartbreaking. The immense darkness, paralleled only by the darkness that exists within the womb that surrounds a fetus.

There would be a moment, multiple moments, of chaos–possibly panic. And then a resurgence of instinct, a cluster of kicks in the right direction. Finally: blinded, resurfaced. Triumphant.

Glowing. Effervescent. Reborn.

 

Stay nutty.

whirlysquirrel

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Imminent Rain

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my eyes and all is born again. Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

It’s taken me a while to get started, today. My mind is mimicking a snow globe that’s been shaken enthusiastically and replaced on its shelf. A flurry of thoughts, a pseudo-tsunami. I’m still waiting for it to subside, or at least to settle to a state of semi-transparency.

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I’m curious to know where your thoughts travel to. What do your daydreams look like? When you’re just a touch too tired for let’s-make-plans, when a thunder-clap promises a watery onslaught, soon to come. When the headache chooses today. When you were planning on an afternoon nap, anyways.

And while we’re on the subject, what’s your opinion on summer rain? On the flash-crackling that convinces the cats to dart upstairs, to hide somewhere safe and dark and extra-warm. On the humid unpredictability of it all. Are you easily accepting of an excuse to keep the lights down low and the covers pulled high, tucked not-too-tightly under your chin? If so, I have a hunch you’re also the type of person who’s secretly pleased by the prospect of a spontaneous power-outage (outwardly rolling your eyes–c’mon, let’s go find the flashlights–but smiling on the inside).

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Or maybe you’re more the type to groan inwardly, on days like today. Days that leave you alone with yourself, for what feels like the slightest bit too long. Restless days where you wind up spending a lot of time sitting, contemplating (over-analyzing? yeah, that too). Days that are too hot to stay in, too drizzly to go out. Misty, sedated, slow-moving days that clear your schedule for you, without asking.

Do we call these mental health days or lazy days, unproductive days? I have a hard time distinguishing between the two, sometimes.

Call me neurotic, but in the past I’ve had to schedule my free time. Hear me out–it’s not the worst idea. If you are the kind of person who starts shallow-breathing the second your life deviates from the well-outlined plan you so carefully constructed for it, it’s sometimes nice to manually pencil in a day off. To know that tomorrow will rain; to leave that calendar square blank. To wake up not to an alarm but to the hushed yet insistent sound of water droplets against house-top, and to be lulled right back to sleep without a worry in the world.

Today, however, I did not wake up with the intention of liberating myself from my listed obligations. The idea snuck up on me, tapping me on the shoulder. I think the possibility of having a nothing day occurred to me somewhere around mid-morning: the yawns never fizzled out, the air was already thick and sliceable by 10:30 a.m. Something-or-someone was squeezing my head in all the wrong spots, with too firm a grip.  All signs were pointing me back to my bed, and I opted not to ignore them. My instinct was to scold myself for what initially felt like taking the easy way out, but I slowly–uncharacteristically–warmed up to my decision. I made a trip to the bank, munched on a mini-omelette, and then crawled back under the blankets, not bothering to change out of my cotton dress or shake my hair free of its ponytail. This is where I’ve been all day, (intermittently, at least) making sense of a mountain of mismatched thoughts (when I should really be sifting through the mountain of laundry sitting at the foot of my bed).

And, miraculously, I’ve finally managed to iron out a few, no longer too wrinkled to interpret.

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I decided that in the event that an unplanned, not-leaving-the-house sort of afternoon should roll toward me on a chariot of cumulonimbus clouds, I shouldn’t feel guilty for embracing it with open arms. I never want to be the kind of person who’s content with complacency, or a sedentary lifestyle, but I also don’t want to be the kind of person who’s too fixated on What’s Next to appreciate all of the perks that come with a non-agenda afternoon. Said perks include things like the opportunity to have a wonderfully unhurried phone call, or the chance to take photos of a new, delightfully sunset-colored plant-baby. To stay holed up in my room with a well-loved book, venturing out only for a nibble of something crunchy (and then again twenty minutes later, for a sliver of something frothy, delectable).

Summed up, I decided to add a pinch of go with the flow, subtract a smidge of by the books. Because the strictest of schedules can go terribly awry, and unplanned days can be filled with the most spectacular surprises. So let’s make a pact, shall we? Let’s promise to take ourselves, our anxieties and our plans a little less seriously; let’s vow to be a little more accepting of the spontaneity of life.

 

Stay nutty.

whirlysquirrel

 

 

 

 

Desiderata

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.” –Desiderata

What comes to mind when you think of solitude?

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I always think of this photograph, which sits encased in a magenta-colored frame on my dresser amongst tiny colorful boxes and a turquoise owl candle holder.

It’s something about the way my neighbor’s run-down shed can nearly look quaint and picturesque with just a spritz of ethereal evening sunlight, how it seems to sit quietly and listen to the animated conversations of the birds that hover nearby. How once-yellow, dying dandelions become spheres of glowing energy as they reach desperately toward the sky in a last-ditch attempt for acknowledgement, like twinkling stars slowly fizzling out of existence. The way that the overgrowth shrouds this abandoned structure in a cloak of shadows, encapsulating it in a perpetual state of serene semi-darkness, allowing it to slowly, safely, discreetly, gracefully begin the inevitable transition from structure to rubble, as this is the fate of all things; as the universe favors chaos over order.

On slow summer days like today, as I sit cross-legged on my bed idly watching the afternoon light filter in through the spaces between my drapes, I am content. I am happy today to be like my neighbor’s desolate shed and sit as a silent observer, watching the clouds play tag with the sun. This isn’t to say I that I choose observation over participation in life, I am merely saying that on days where I find myself alone, I do not panic–I celebrate. I can appreciate the warmth of a not-too-hot day, the whirring of a passing plane, the calm loveliness of summertime. Every now and then we could all stand to take a lesson from nature and learn to appreciate our own existence instead of living with the incessant fear that we are somehow missing out on life. We can be like the grass and the trees and the creatures of the Earth, all of whom are happy simply “being,” and realize that being alive is a treat in and of itself. It is okay to be alone, and it is okay to take time to breathe and to reconnect with the natural world.

“You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.”

 

Stay nutty.

whirlysquirrel