Thursday, May 10, 2018

Summer Fear

What it is about summer days, bright and clear that fill me with anxiety? Shouldn’t summers be a time for excitement and joy? Should I not remember my school days when weather like this was portent and promise of months of freedom with my friends? Maybe once, but now the days are lurking outside, the sun shines on the edge as if waiting for me to accept my good fortune so it can drop another bomb.

Summer nights are better for me. That time does not judge like summer days. In warm shadow I am not exposed. Among crickets and moths I can neglect and procrastinate. Under cool moonlight I can hide, fraud, liar, thief. The stars don’t judge, they barely notice if I don’t do all I could have done. Their indifference is a blessing.

Sunshine is stark and inviting and alien to me. Somewhere in my life, at some pivotal moment, I was given too much responsibility and the sun knows it and shines and watches. And judges.

And if I brave to think this day in all its yellow and green, blue and warm is deserved, I know to expect a reminder. The shoe is perched and waiting. Daring me to relax.

Anxious days with no excuse but fear. Shining, brilliant, hot and breezy fear.



Thursday, May 3, 2018

Rites of Passage

I sit down with finger on keyboard to celebrate and lament another rite of passage. My son is graduating from the University of Utah today and in time-honored tradition, I’ll get to sit in a basketball arena while he and the thousand of other future-uncertain students march in cap an gown. I’ll probably cry. Another rite, another mile marker, another moment to reflect.

This spring has been full of such moments actually. I taught a great group of people creative writing. The final class after twelve weeks had all the call back of last day of high school where you say goodbye to friends hoping it’s not for the last time.

The same feeling of loss and accomplishment (for what else can such feelings be?) came Sunday after Pikes Peak Writers Conference wrapped up. For four intense days I lived and breathed, laughed, talked, drank with great writers and new friends. It’s an all enclosed conference, all meals included and a room on the fourth floor, so it was like a sleep-over. I reconnected and made new friends with whom I hope to reconnect someday.

This pattern is of course universal. The difference is marking the end. Most important things in our lives do not come with such an obvious expiration date. They just kind of fade away like an old soldier or dream in the daylight, an ellipsis after a comma. When such a hard end occurs, a period, it is only right to have a ritual to mark the moment. Graduation, hugs in the eh lobby, a funeral for a friend. It’s a moment to reflect and be grateful, a moment to remember the person that used to be here and compare them to the person who leaves. It is a celebration of the law of the universe: change. It is nature caught and named, marked by borders and hopefully better understood.

It is a moment of transition. Of celebration, and yes, of loss. Potential ended in action, paths passed for progress along a choice.

I’ll sit in the arena today and I’ll look for the speck who is my first born and I’ll weep because I’m a softy. And if anyone asks me why, I bet I won’t be able to put it into words. Luckily, I don’t think anyone will.