I think the worst is over. In the end it seems I must pull myself out of the hole on my own. But it is usually thus, isn’t it? Those who want to help are unable to, and those who could help refuse to or make matters worse. It’s partly my own solitary nature, I know. I find it difficult to reach out and relate to other people. So I write. I sit in the safe solitude of the corner where my desk is (the desk was my mother’s, made for her by an admirer; I’ve kept it with me all these years) and I channel through my fingers to the keyboard. I form thoughts and feelings into words. That’s what my brain does with them, although the connection to my tongue is glitchy.
The turning point came when I was in the North Country, staying for the night in the cabin of some friends. It has no running water or electricity, but is wonderfully snug and has an excellent wood stove. In the wee hours, aptly so named, I had to get up and use the outhouse. It was bitterly cold, but clear. I stood for a moment in my long underwear, boots unlaced, jacket hugged around me, no doubt a comical sight, and I looked up through the bare trees into the sky. All around me was silver, crystal, cold white and black. The stars were thick, as they are in the north, away from sources of light pollution. They glittered, distant and indifferent, and being the geek that I am, I thought of the images telescopes capture of intense and glorious nebulae, so far away in time and space that the mind may calculate the numeric quantity but have no conception of its real meaning. A meteorite streaked through the sky. Simultaneously I thought of the scientific explanation, the rock burning from atmospheric friction, and the mythic explanation from out of my books: Magic falls to earth.
In that moment I was present, aware, alone and in awe. I felt all the weary tedium and tragedy of my life melt away into irrelevance. It was a moment of transcendent joy.
It passed, of course. I returned home and all the confusion and anxiety came rushing back like a tide. But that moment was a tool I could use to chip away at the depression that immobilized me.
So, Happy New Year. What shall I resolve? I will take walks every day in spite of winter’s scowl. I will keep chipping away at the ice that has me in its grip to clear a channel open for moments of joy. I will sort through the calamity I’ve fallen into* and not give up.
Like all New Year’s Resolutions, I expect I will keep these imperfectly. May I have the strength to forgive myself for that imperfection, and keep going.