Saturday, March 10, 2007

It's Nearly Spring... Isn't It?

Strangely enough, there's been a recurrent image floating around the periphery of my consciousness today. I am somehow being propelled feet-first through a thin layer of ice and into a large body of water. I break through quite easily, with a low impact sensation in my legs, and splash into the drink. I don't fall to a great death... the resistance of the cold water catches me, stopping my plunge at a depth of only a few feet. I slowly float up again, only to meet the frozen icy crust of the surface. I can't break through, and instead stare up at the distorted sky through the imperfect lens that separates me from a needed breath of air.

These are the sensations that lift me out of the restless turnings of an afternoon nap. I am not altogether lucid, and I don't recall a time of crystalline perception within the last three weeks. It's mostly inertia carrying me forward, as I continue activities and projects that I initiated months ago. The overwhelming fact of my recent life has been exhaustion. I know that the fluctuations of the weather are a factor in all of this.

This past week has been a struggle, as a constant clear stream of watery snot has followed frequent sneezing jags. I have exhausted our household's once copious supply of tissues. I twist through periods of deep bone ache, but am afraid of the message a thermometer might bring. The many cigarettes that I am used to consuming constrict my chest, and I rely on short shallow gasps to gain my breath. I feel what I imagine twenty years of advanced aging will bring. And I feel like these discomforts can be easily read on my face. I expect people to ask me what is wrong, and I anticipate not having a concise answer.

But then frequently I feel like I am emerging from the daze. I decide that business-as-usual will restore my energy. Getting back into the flow of routine will reset my biorhythms. Perhaps the way I have felt has all been a natural response to the end of winter. If I decelerate my momentum, I can find something approaching renewal. I get up for work every day as usual, and focus on getting through the calendar.

Then the weekend arrives, and I feel a deep-seated compulsion to saturate myself with another round of stimuli. This is a regular window of open opportunity, and I am almost desperate in my attempts to extract the magical possibility of these days . Even when I know that I should remain curled up on the sofa with a book, I feel obligated to get out and engage the world. I drag myself to gallery openings, and stop in at restaurants to dine alone. I make appointments to maintain my social contacts and friendships. I try to muster an air of conviviality and submerge my malaise. And at times I can forget how tired I have been. I can sense the rewards of endurance. I know that spring is nearly here.


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