Laundry needs folding, floors need cleaning, sheets need changing…
So I go for a run.
I’m leaving it behind, chucking it all. I can work and play, after all. Today I am the queen of the multi-task. Right now I am simultaneously cleaning the oven (self-clean), doing laundry (once loaded it does itself), and ordering a good read (waiting for whispernet to download this to my kindle).
I’m feeling pretty good.
The hills surrounding our valley home are obscured by fog this morning and the rain keeps falling but I don’t mind. I am smoke passing through this mist and the moisture on my skin makes me feel supple and young.
I’m trying not to think, just be right here. But there’s too much and soon I’m fretting over that mid-day orthodontist appointment that will effectively prevent me from investing myself in anything worthwhile for fear of interruption. Not to mention that standardized testing started today. The teachers won’t be happy about me pulling my boy.
I try to cross the busy street but the traffic keeps coming. Someone yells out the window at me as they drive by.
I guess it could be worse. And I think of Michael Csutoris because peanut butter always makes me remember him. He shared his peanut butter and jelly sandwich with me on the track bus after a meet my junior year. The sandwich was all squished and the jelly had soaked through the bread. He told me that just made it better. I thought he was the cutest thing.
I cross the street and head down by the golf course. No matter how many years I run it always takes me two miles to warm up and I feel that familiar shortness of breath and the occasional heart palpitation that has me secretly convinced that I have an undiagnosed heart valve malformation that will one day cause me to keel over on the side of the road while out jogging. Before my five miles are up I have myself dead and buried. My body is cold in the ground and Jeff is remarried to some bimbo who mistreats my children.
I resolve to write in their journals more about how much I love them. Just in case.
A friend told me she once read that some crazy number like 80 or 90 % of people know how they would change their living space if their spouse passed away. I would paint my walls. Add color to this world. Get rid of the ugly brass fireplace insert. Hard wood floors.
This is morbid thinking, I know. I feel a sudden sense of panic at the thought of ever continuing on without my husband.
I was reading this article this morning about philosophy and it was very entertaining and all but it was this word that jumped out at me: clepsydra.
The author, Simon Critchley, said:
In Greek legal proceedings, a strictly limited amount of time was allotted for the presentation of cases. Time was measured with a water clock or clepsydra, which literally steals time, as in the Greek kleptes, a thief or embezzler. The pettifogger, the jury, and by implication the whole society, live with the constant pressure of time. The water of time’s flow is constantly threatening to drown them.
That’s how I’ve been feeling. Drowning in the continual ticking off of the seconds. Longing for the slowing, looking for a pause to breathe deeply.
I am feeling my body. Last night I woke up with spasms in my left knee. I’ve had muscle cramps before, but never spasms. It made sleep impossible. I think about my patients with their various neurological issues, the botox injections, stretching they have to do. And I have a new appreciation for their discomfort.
Julia Cameron says my body carries a knowledge deeper than my mind.
I believe this. I feel it when I run. When I breathe. I think about my grandfather and my grandfather’s grandfather and how their blood runs through my veins and I wonder about the memories inside of me. What do my cells know that I don’t? My grandfather lived to be one hundred years old. I don’t think I have a heart valve malformation.
I’m on the last mile when I realize that I feel good. My breath is smooth, by stride strong. I try to feel everything. Just for a minute. There is no sustaining this awareness.
The dogs are waiting for me when I get home—looking out the bay window expectantly. The laundry will have to wait a little bit longer.
There are worse things than taking a walk in the rain on a Monday morning.
Like changing the sheets. Mopping the floor. Cleaning the toilet.
We’ll get to that too, eventually. When I steal back some of what that sly thief time has stolen.
All in good time.
photo: flag that spoke to me while on a field trip with the fifth graders to Cincinnati