Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Muddled on an April Morning

I awake muddled, muddy on this April morning. In fact, it just took me three tries to spell the word "muddled" correctly and what does muddled mean anyway? Well, to me it means feeling a lack of clarity, feeling unsure, a bit torn, overwhelmed, de-energized, and even apprehensive and anxious. Furthermore, I am uncertain about the origin of each of these feelings and even less clear about solutions. So the sorting begins.

First, I will blame April itself. In some ways April is the cruelest month, for the weather is fickle. One day I am sitting on the front porch, sweaterless, book in my lap, chatting with my husband while he is planting pansies. The next day I am turning up the heat and digging for gloves before I leave the house. I see snowflakes and wish I didn't have to leave the house at all. April is also the month of my birthday, the anniversary of my Mother's death, and taxes--each with its own set of heightened emotions.

Perhaps the feeling comes from impatience with waiting. We continue to wait for our 1802 farmhouse in Ohio to sell. It has now been on the market a year and a half, and I yearn to have both feet firmly planted in Wisconsin. Except for the day I write two mortgage checks (I am deeply grateful to be able to do that, by the way.), I think little about this situation and know we have done what we can and that our realtor is doing what she can. But springtime is supposed to be the time when houses sell and we keep hearing that the market is loosening up a bit so where is our buyer? I feel irritation when someone who looks at the house says it is too old. Well, what did you think when you saw 200+ years old on the listing sheet? Or the person who wants a more open concept, which is not exactly the norm for an old house. I also continue to wait for a response from the literary agent who requested my material after reading my query letter about my book of essays on grief and loss. That was 6 weeks ago. What is proper etiquette? Do I send a "Remember me?" email? Do I submit to another agent? This is a mysterious and quirky process, and I am weary of waiting. And I wait for some good news from our son about his job-hunting process. My heart is heavy for him. Waiting for the appearance of warm temperatures and tulips is much easier.

Perhaps the feeling comes from the Hospitality Cycle we've been in the last several weeks. Lots of houseguests. Lots of menu-planning, sheet-changing, towel washing, table-setting, tour-giving. Truly, there are NO regrets. I repeat, that firmly and loudly for those of you who have been our guests or will soon be our guests. No REGRETS, for along with opening our door, we have opened our hearts. We have laughed. We have shared memories and stories and thoughts. We have added to the love in this house, but preparation and the aftermath have created an imbalance with little time or energy for the other chunks of life.

Perhaps the feeling comes from the blank page. I am beginning to write the first draft of an essay on the spirit of hospice and I am always twitchy, itchy in this stage. I love the gathering and percolating stage and I love the tweaking, editing stage as well and find it hard to let go of either stage. It is the first draft that drives me to clean drawers and buy birthday cards for October and research writer's retreats on the Internet and yes, even write a posting for this blog.

I suspect this muddled feeling is a mixed bouquet of all these feelings and, of course, I know what to do when I feel mired in whininess. I sit quietly and I write. I sit quietly and breathe and meditate. That's is exactly what I have been doing and now I will move into the rest of the day. May this be a day of clarity and calm for you. (Image is "The Beginning of Summer" by Deborah DeWitt Marchant)

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