Its quiet. In the quiet there is reassurance, There is knowing. I lay in bed, with out opening my eyes. Cool clean air surrounds my face, down my neck and to my shoulders. This cool only stops where a warm blanket starts. I keep my eyes shut thinking about the cold air filling the empty spaces. “Do you know what time it is?” The questions is soft and sweet. I feel an icy hand touch my cheek and some how even colder fingertips gently tapping as if they were counting the time themselves. My eyes slowly open, one at a time. The light within the room was grey and hung still. ‘Its snowing’. I didn’t need to get out of bed to know this. “Oh! It is! Its so…wonderful!” Her happiness is enough to wake the sleep from my head and look out the window with her. White down blankets cover the barn. Docile cows move subtly underneath its effortless beauty. “Its here,” I say to myself, ‘its winter.” Winter and all that it brings. A laying to rest the summer and scurry of fall making ready for cold rejuvenation. Making time stand in its place, giving me a chance to remember what the warm and sunny days brought to me and how short a time it all really was. Making the garden and planting with the hot sun on my back. Weeding with sweat dripping from my face. Arms moving constantly swatting mosquitos, sending dirt up into the air every time I reach up to wave them away, forgetting that I have a small spade with fresh dirt in my hand. Time went swiftly at the lake. Watching children make and remake sand castles and dive for the same small rock over and over. When the leaves began to ready for their grand display, the mountain sides like an open gallery for all see. Time seemed to speed up, urgently the dropping leaves gave signal the time with almost up. Finish the work with the earth. Put to bed the gardens that have produced the last of their fruits. Winter is a time to plan. A time to perfect. A time to build the life that thrives in the sun. Comfort comes with the snow, knowing that my time to rest is here. Reassurance that the earth is having its time to rest as well.
Some people claim that they can see people in color. Is this possible? I am not referring to the practice of reading ones color by starring at their foreheads until you have a cross-eyed revelation.Do we each possess a color that others are able to see? Are some colors faded and worn? Are some so vibrant that we have to turn away? How many of these people have we known in our lives? The bright ones. The ones that we are drawn to. They are not always easy to spot. Some times they are just surrounded by faded colors. Some times so thickly that we only get a short glimpse of the hues, but even in those small moments we are captured. Who is not drawn to the positive energy of others? We need these ones. They shine brightly a mist a sea of muddled shades reaching,pining for the glow of that one. Hoping and wishing that some pigment rubs off on us, changing us from the tinge that we have become over time. Maybe we all started off luminescent. Life and circumstance change us. Pressure and time dilute what was once iridescence. Some of them do not know how they illuminate. The effect that they have is contagious and they share willingly unknowing their effect. There are also ones that are basking in their chromaticism. Smiling and feeding on the crowding of the undertones, knowing that if they continue to be brilliant as a beacon calling others to them. As we come closer to the light, the color becomes overwhelming and we do not take notice that they have blinded us. We can not see that the colors that had us captured are a fabrication. They are not real. We end up wounded and fade just a little more then we were before being drawn so close.Blinded.
Its cold, I say to my self as I press my head against the glass of the passenger side window of the car. Its cold and it feels good. My head is swimming with thoughts. My stomach churning with nausea. Ears ringing. My mind repeats over and over again what he just said.
“Are you o.k?” He asks, as if he really was concerned.
I do not answer him. How could I? Are there any words that I could say at this moment in time. I think about what I could say. I could give my standard ‘sure,no problem’. I know he would not believe it. I wanted to answer but I wanted to be careful. He had laid bare what my heart could not hear and he did it with such ease. How long had he been thinking about this? Why was is so easy for him to say something so damaging. I close my eyes. My head is pounding with the beat of my heart. Its a reassuring feeling, I am not dead but I wanted to be.
The glass is cold and smooth and real. I needed real. I needed something to ground me to this earth. I keep my eyes closed for what feels like a long time. Focusing on the hard smooth surface that has become my source comfort.Its snowing and the road is starting to get difficult to travel on. I start think about the possibility of the car getting stuck in the snow bank or going off the road completely. My mind shifts from the searing pain in my soul to the image of me in my short black dress and heels trying to climb the snow to safety. Poor choice for an outfit in the middle of winter in central Vermont. I wanted to look nice. My heart was racing all day thinking about the evening ahead. I was smitten. There are no other words. Friends were accusing me of it all the time. I must have had a stupid look on my face all the time.Not any more.
I open my eyes and realized that he was still talking to me. I still cannot speak.I just try to listen to what he is saying. I can’t. All I hear is the painful words he said to me. The words that have pushed me to the cold, hard, soothing glass. I hear his voice echoing in the corners of my mind. Then it happens, I try so hard not to let it happen, but tears start cascading down my cheeks. Hot and salted,its a stark contrast to the cold I feel on my forehead. My tears are unwelcome and I try to wipe them away with out making a sound. I hope that he did not notice that he had caused me to cry. How could he not. They keep coming like a steady rain in the spring time. They fall onto my hands one after another. I look down at my hands and see that they are clenched into fists. Not the fighting kind. The insecure kind. My mother was the first one to point it out to me. I will make a fist but bury my thumb into the space between the first and middle fingers. “Your nervous. ” she would say, “Don’t hold your hands like that”. He loved my mom. My lap is starting to get damp as the tears leak through my tight fingers. I reposition my head on the glass,searching for a new cold spot.
Here I am, sitting in the car watching big fluffy snow flakes fall the way that they do, not caring where they land, with my hands scrunched up for all to see that I am nervous and insecure. I close my eyes again. I just want to be home. I want to retreat from the world, from him, his words and the pain that they have left me with. For now I just keep my head pressed against the car window.Its cold.
I am not unhappy. I do not dislike the life that I have. Three children, a husband, a job, a place to live. Most would say that I have all that I could want, and I do. I do not wish for a different life. I am not envious of others and the lives that they live. I do not lay awake thinking about what could have been. But I feel….
I feel that I must make my life. Make it my own. With all that I have and all that will be.I need to feel that this life is my own. Right now, at this very moment in time, my life is…changing.
Its not that I think being a mother and working full time is too much, although that’s all I hear from friends and family. Its constant, ” you poor thing, you look so tired.” When I hear that, it automatically makes me feel,well, tired. I love the good intentions that people have when they see that you are a working mom, “your doing the best that you can.” But what if this isn’t the best? Is the best waking up late, rushing three little sleep-drunk people around so that we can make it to school in time? Is my best sitting in my house thinking about what I should get done, and then not doing it? Is doing your best getting frustrated with boys over home work? Is having a short temper and crippling anxiety being the best? I don’t believe it.
It was a heated conversation that prompted my exploration into happiness. This is my journey to that place I have been before, we have all been there. Its warm and inviting. Its a feeling that is both mental and physical. You can feel it deep in your chest, full, happy.
“Load the car and write the note
grab your bag and grab your coat
tell ones that need to know
we are headed north”- The Avett Brothers