Friday, December 11, 2015

A Certain Frame of Mind

For a few years, I've been trying to get at and hold onto something I needed. It's elusive, a feeling, a sense of creativity or contentedness or .... I really don't have a good name for it but I know it when I get it.

I can almost rely on getting this feeling when I walk along a trail with Teddy. The air is fresh. Trees older than I am flank the trail. A breeze rustles leaves all around me and makes me think of how huge and complex this universe is. I get more of this feeling when I notice something intricate like the pattern of spores on the backs of sword fern leaves and I think of how small and complex the universe is.

When I get home, there are dishes and laundry to wash, meals to make, a child or homework to wrangle, and the feeling can so easily slide away. Television kills it. I work to get it back, endorphins, enlightenment, creativity, the spirit. There are lots of words for it, but none that nail it down.

When it evaporates, I miss it as if the air is stale, as if my lungs are bit low on oxygen.

A few years ago, I started taking pictures when I was out, stupid things, moss growing on a manhole cover, fungus growing on a fence post, a wet newt in brown leaves. Going back over these pictures brought this feeling back, at least a little.

Just now, I managed to get it while I was on the couch. I doodled a bit in my notebook, watched the scene in 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty' when Ben Stiller's character watches Sean Penn's character not take a photo of an elusive wild cat. And there it was, that familiar sense of depth that I so badly need, enlightenment, creativity, the spirit, flowing all around me and through my lungs.

What did I do?

Well, I had stuff I needed to get done. I wasn't exactly free to wander trails and breathe clean air. I wasn't going to be among the wild trees though I could stop to look at my family trees out my windows.

I vacuumed the floor and cleaned the toilets. Yes, that's what I did.

And it was amazing. I took a photo of a picture Nick painted for me when he was in elementary school. I love that painting but I forget to look at it sometimes. I made myself a mocha with extra foam swirling patterns on the top. I noticed the beautiful way my vacuum cleaner had been designed to let me whip out the wand and suck up fur collected in a corner, the way it swiveled around table legs and the antique trunk full of love letters that my grandma gave me.

Now, my house feels a little more inviting. It's not exactly a sacred space, but it is more lovely than it was before. Maybe it's time to hang Christmas lights and make the garage and the walkway glow.

What puts you into that frame of mind? Just thinking about it might put you there. 

Thank you for listening,

No comments:

Post a Comment