The Brugmansia, or Angel's Trumpet is blooming and this alone brings me great joy as I sit outside on the porch this morning with my computer and coffee.
The air is cool, and although it is not quite crisp, which I might prefer, the nights not quite as cool as is normal in the Hudson Valley in early August, it is still lovely to be out. I am amazed at the difference a few degrees have made in my own acceptance of the hot weather. It is still hot, and I believe today's high is expected to be near the record for this date. But I am accepting it better, primarily because I have longer windows in the morning and evening in which to enjoy the beauty of nature, even manicured suburban nature.
Even the act of simply sitting, of the softness of the fresh morning air, looking at flowers, and dirt with its damp loamy scent, lifts my spirits. This is good because I kind of crashed and burned this weekend and I needed a bit of a rekindling spark.
There was more than enough good in my weekend. I attended a great training session on Saturday where I met new people and had a wonderful time. I was filled with excitement, filled with a sense of promise and potential, offset with just a touch of trepidation over pushing my own boundaries. But really, I have come to accept and even embrace trepidation, for there is no growth, no creativity without a little tinge of discomfort. But by Saturday evening I realized I had experienced an accidental contact with gluten and I was as sick as a dog. Sunday morning I had to force myself to pull myself together. I am grateful for Sunday morning: giving someone a ride to church; the rituals of liturgy; the thoughtful and thought-provoking sermon that poked me exactly where I needed it; the camaraderie of working altar-guild after the service; the joy I find in tending to the altar linens (my main job) -- of keeping things white and crisp -- all of these things elevated my state of mind away from myself, away from my discomfort. I thought they would carry me through the remainder of the day.
I was wrong. I got home and was felled by a massive sinus headache, a headache from hell, a headache I could not escape. It stunned me because I have been mostly sinus free of late. But I have learned that food affects more than just our guts; that our bodies are complex systems with multiple and overlapping reactions. But that is not the subject of today's post. The subject of today's post is that I allowed that headache to bring me down. Yes, it hurt to move, yet it hurt to think. But I allowed myself to succumb to discomfort and misery. I allowed myself to curl up on the sofa and spend the afternoon watching bad movies as I sank lower and lower into the sea of despond. I allowed my trepidations to rise up out of the mists and give birth to fears.
Luckily for me I do tend to have a shut-off switch. I noted this long ago. I can wallow, I can flirt with things I shouldn't flirt with, but I am very reluctant to lose control. I can only go so far and then I throw the switch. This may be a gift I have received from my alcoholic father, inadvertently as it were. It is not a gift I wish to take for granted, for even gifts can be lost if held too lightly. Like all gifts, this switch has its benefits and its dangers. But today I am grateful and lucky to have a switch. I am also grateful for Tikka who dragged me out for a walk right in the middle of the neighborhood puppy-social hour, where I had to interact with other people and other dogs, and accept the gifts of conversation and wagging talks and many licks.
Today my head still hurts. Today I still feel a bit punk. But I will keep moving, albeit slowly. Today I am grateful for flowers and dogs and cool mornings. Today I am grateful for friends and obligations, for those things that pull us outside ourselves. Today I am grateful for an altar linen that needs to be washed and ironed, because although life is not white and crisp and pure, ironing linen reminds me of what we are striving for and why life is worth living.