Monday, May 02, 2011

While my cat sleeps

The soft cat emerges from the folds of the chair skirt, gray and black stripes oozing from under the long coffee-brown cotton that just dusts the floor. He is having a quiet day, Max the cat, he is not sure why I am home. I am not sure either, but my rain soaked deck and the clicks and moans of my quiet house call me to settle in, pull the shawl tighter, hold onto the silence that this house offers, waiting and waiting for the Spring that teases and cajoles but never stays.

I am weary of the weather, weary of the cold and wet that seeps into every pour, saturates us with bleak gray blanket of wet and mold. The cough I developed last week, has lapsed into a dull thud of its former self, no more the racking, rattling cough of bird wings against wire cages clamoring to get out, but a hoarse congested choking noise that makes me think of gutters thick with leaf mold and the ever present pine needles.

I sip my tea, watch the rain and remember when I was not cold, when my body and house and world did not drip and shiver. When hope was not a season lost but a possibility.

My work, my writing has been locked inside me these past few days, I’ve been unable or unwilling to coax the words on the page. My characters have left me too, no longer competing for conversation time as I showered or chopped vegetables. I’ve been worrying about this absence, but not in a concrete way, more abstract, more of a deflection of thought then a full frontal facing of the betrayal of word ratio to paper, of internal conversation to external.

I allow myself to be easily distracted, indulge myself in the safety of a benign upper respiratory illness, I am weak. And yet, and yet for all my weakness, all my blind ignorance, still I show up here each day, fingers poised above keys, shawl wrapped loosely, mind stretching, bending, reaching for the elusive word. The words always return, one by one they appear, like the spring thaw, revealing themselves one damp, cold, sheathed leaf at a time, pushing up to an ever strengthening sun, and when the words arrive finally, pushed above ground by the roots of language, pulled by the sun of knowledge into the full light, I will be ready to capture them. Max purr’s, stretches and goes back to sleep.

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