Sunday, February 26, 2012

One Word At A Time


In the dream I could barely move my legs. I was still walking, but every ordinary step was an ache and I was slowed to barely moving. I felt this ache all the way up from my heavy legs through my shoulders and chest. My arms though were light. Their lightness frustrated my every movement as I wondered how I could so easily move part of me and not the other. In the dream, others moved at normal speed while I slogged through trying just to get where I needed to be.

That was this morning as I dozed. I've had the dream before, countless times. I may have published something about it here. I usually wake from it discouraged and acting as though my legs were aching outside the dream as well, acting as though movement was too much effort and I simply needed to lie still. This morning however, I'm up. I'm inspired by it. I want to attend to the things I couldn't in the dream.

Last night I wrote that I want to start posting in the morning and so I am. Later today I'll write another piece and have it timed to publish in the morning. It's a small step but there is no ache in my bones as I take it. And it makes me wonder what other steps I can take.

This past week I sank into a funk. Then my family and I visited Philadelphia. We saw the artifacts of our country's independence and, at the art museum, saw a Van Gogh show that was sublime. In Philadelphia, the only times I felt myself slipping were when I was writing in the hotel lobby, tired from the day's walk and surrounded by people meeting other people. I got stuck on the past and my regrets. But each time I took the elevator back to my family, it all washed away.

The lessons of this will be things to ponder most of this week and likely for months afterward, but this morning's dream reminds me of the first lesson: movement is good. All too often I sit still to think. I keep my pen moving or my fingers typing when I write, knowing that constant motion is the solution. I need to help myself understand that movement aids thinking. Motion and progress are essential. Rest is too, but I need to know good rest from lethargic stillness.

I'm up writing. I'm getting set to move to the next thing. I'll invite my parents and brother over to hear about our trip and thank my mother for looking after the dog. I'll do laundry. I'll pick up my girls and swing them around. I'll read some poetry. I'll enjoy myself. And when I sit, I'll ask myself if it is good sitting or something else entirely. I'll make sure that my legs aren't sore.

All of this is my plan for today. I feel like I want to carry it over to tomorrow and the rest of my days, but tomorrow is beyond me. There's just now, this moment. There is this word I'm typing and  the ways in which it leads to the next and the one after that. I can't think about what the last words are and I don't need to. I just want to set one word after the other as I continuously write on.