Fairly regularly I sit down to post on Middle Passages with no idea as to what I am going to write about and today happens to be one of those days. When this occurs I shuffle through my pile of yellow sticky notes to see if there’s an idea jotted down--but knowing that the last thought I scribbled led to yesterday’s topic, I’m pretty sure I’m in trouble.
As a complete morning person, it is never a good sign when I approach the computer to address this well after noon, but a busy start to the day set me behind. Our daughter’s 7:30 a.m. consultation with the oral surgeon kicked things off--she’ll be sixteen in two weeks and these days they want wisdom teeth out early, before the roots are formed.
As a woman who’s lived for thirty years with a pins-and-needles jaw that stemmed from the removal of an impacted wisdom tooth with roots wrapped around a nerve, I’m all for it. That said, she’s been under the knife once in the last year already, (knee surgery) and no mom wants to see her kid endure pain. However, we squared our shoulders, set the date and then took the half hour trip to her day camp counselor-in-training program after which I traveled home in time to change my clothes and meet my college roommate for a walk by the ocean.
We talked quickly but walked slowly so here I am, approaching 2:00 p.m., wondering what to write about. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to discuss friendship, and what it means to get out of a car and begin talking to someone you don’t see often, and still have mountains to yammer about long after your circuitous lighthouse route is complete. Now that I’ve returned home, I swear that physical manifestations result from a long conversation with a friend. I bet, if I had the means to test it, the effects would reveal themselves via relaxed muscles, low blood pressure and some kind of all-natural tranquilizer that drapes your psyche in a blanket of ease. Hmmm, now that I think about it, I suppose there are other things in life that cause err, positive biochemical responses but, (she says with a blush) there’s only one I’ll mention today.
Before finally settling down to Middle Passage a short time ago, I checked in on my favorite writer’s blog and in it she referred to “writing for hours in that rare way that makes me forget about time…”
There is, thankfully, a place I go to sometimes while sitting in front of this computer—my physical body remains, but the rest of me travels to where there is no time, no air around me, nothing to distract from the search for the treasure of a right word, a correct description, the perfect modifier. I come to, confused at the hour, the lowering sun in the sky, often aghast at the list of other things that weren’t accomplished. Yet the dial inside me remains set at a low simmer, which is reflected in a warm serenity and a percolating self-confidence. Sadly, I can’t profess that I arrived at that place today.
I’ll live though, because the word document into which I type each Middle Passages post before cutting and pasting it into Blogger, is called “I Can do This.” It happens to be the title of my first blog post ever and reminds me each time I sit down to write, that even when I’m sure I have nothing to say—words remain possible. When my brain feels like a parched desert filled with drifting sand, it’s critical that I wipe off the sweat, yank out the shovel, place my foot on top of the blade and force it deep down—because, just like today, there’s always something underneath; a cool spring of words that convinces me, once again, that I can, in fact, do this.