I spent a bit of time in the slough of despond this week. In many ways there was no reason for it, I was coming off a fabulous weekend, although perhaps an excess of happiness and the remnant trails of exhaustion exacerbated my state. Who really knows, I am not here to explore the roads to the slough, or even the process of extraction, although I am on the other side. I am simply admitting that sometimes life grows difficult, our hearts and feet heavy and we trudge onward, hoping not to be pulled down into our own darker thoughts.
As stated above, it had been a fabulous weekend. Friday night I went to the symphony, the last concert of the season, and a lovely concert it was. I went despite the fact that I was exhausted. I went despite the fact that the program's theme was Rhapsody in Blue, a piece of music I have never really liked although I have admittedly never really spent time sussing out what it is about the piece that I don't like. I didn't like it when my piano teacher insisted I play it, even though I tend to like the piano composition far more than the orchestration. It all seems jangly and jumpy and although I know that is the jazz influence, I'd often rather just hear jazz.
But I went to the concert to hear the second half, Aaron Copeland's Symphony #3, "Quiet City", a beloved work, despite its inconsistencies. This is, in a way, and odd statement to make because I didn't even stay for the second half. I was so tired that I feared my ability to drive safely home, and although I could have ubered home and come back in the morning for my car, I probably would have slept through the Copeland anyway, no matter how beautifully performed. Surprisingly, I Ioved the Gershwin. Pianist Michelle Cann's performance was brilliantly exuberant, with a controlled rhythm and an elegance that I don't often hear in that piece. Still the rhythm was there and it made me want to dance. In fact the entire piece, piano and orchestra was alive, except instead of all jangly and jumpy it felt more to me like silk and chiffon moving and swirling in the winds of the music. Perhaps this interpretation of the Gershwin was shaped by the Florence Price work played earlier in the concert Concerto in One Movement for Piano and Orchestra, which I admittedly knew nothing about but which seemed to be a rather gracious melding of old-world European traditions with the roots of ragtime.
Saturday was puttering day, and catch-up on sleep day, which is why there was no blog post. I had been sleeping badly for a week, for no discernible reason. Mentally and emotionally I did not feel stressed, but my body did; perhaps this too was a precursor to this weeks trudge through the tar-like slough, some previously hidden imp of a thought working its way out of my psyche. Perhaps my body occasionally tells tries to clue me in to things my mind is refusing to acknowledge. But Saturday was mostly a grocery shopping and cooking day. I was cooking both for myself and for another family, which offered a double joy in a way, as I got to play in the kitchen and feed people, two activities that are always dear to my heart. At the end of the day I was tired, happy-tired, but tired nonetheless.
Sunday I went on a bike ride with a friend. It was my first excursion outside my immediate neighborhood, my first ride of over 2 miles, and I was a bit nervous to start, still wobbly, still occasionally getting my gear-shifts confused, but excited as well. We met at the EarthFare parking lot and rode to the UT Gardens and back, a ride that was, to my best guess, nearly 7 miles round trip. It is a good beginner trail and not nearly as hilly as my neighborhood, which was helpful. It was perhaps a mile too far, as I was struggling to get myself up that last slight hill returning to my car, but I made it, and it was my own fault anyway as I was the one who insisted I could make it to the gardens. and back. I've always had a tendency to overdo.
Sunday afternoon I made chocolate bark, and toasted and soaked Mexican Chiles to make a couple of kinds of Chile paste just to restock my pantry and for some upcoming menus. Then had a lovely dinner with friends. My Vitamix crashed on Sunday, well the canister did, and a replacement canister is on the way. Monday I crashed. No replacement self alas, but although perhaps more volatile, I am less brittle than plastic, and can be restored.
Wisely I didn't stop doing things during the week. Although my accomplishments slowed considerably. I am working on yet another round of sorting and putting away. I walked but I did not ride the bike, which may have been a mistake, as the feel of the air against my skin might have perked me up considerably. There were days when Tikka, reading my reluctant mood, did manage to convince me not to walk, whereas usually I drag her along, or she drags me along, and we support each other. Perhaps we were both simply experiencing an early summer miasma.
And here we are again, another weekend. It is an active weekend, but perhaps with a better balance between my social and solitary selves. This may be a good thing. It is human to want to find reasons, preferably problems we can fix, but I am not sure that is the answer. There are always hills. There is always mud. Perhaps, because I was tired, certain barriers were down and I was more open to vulnerability. But relationships also require a willingness to enter into vulnerability on occasion, even if that means occasionally traipsing through the mud. The trick seems to be in both allowing oneself to wallow when needed, but also being willing and able to both enter, and to see oneself to the other side.
Have a wonderful weekend.