Summer has arrived in Spring, as it always does here in Miami. It is a terrible season in some ways, the sun so intense that I try to time walks in the evenings, even to the mailbox. No doubt though, it is beautiful. For any would-be photographer, the quality of light and the brightness of everything is astounding. On the water, stars glisten well into the evenings… a dance of pure magic.
At least once between now and September, I’ll cover myself in light clothes and powerful sunscreen, don a large ridiculous hat, and risk what I pray will be just a quick dip in health ‘this time’, to capture a little of the show. For a few days I’ll drink more water, eat more vegetables and fruit, take every vitamin, get to bed on time. For a few vivid pictures, I’ll plan to afterward pass through the days of self-judgement when the weakness sets in, try to remember the promise I made to myself, not to panic but to let it pass.
As it does, almost always.
Those without chronic illnesses can’t imagine the wear self-condemnation can entail. One can hide from others, but not those who show up there ‘in the mind’, wearing one’s own face, speaking in one’s own voice. “If you had…” “If you had not…” It was the glass of wine this time, or the sugar, or the garden stroll too early or late in the day. Maybe the unforgiveness … Yet perfection of behavior is never guarantee that the general cycles would not be much the same.
I’ve mostly avoided writing and stories that delve into it as central, just as even when in the most serious times I avoided support groups (although, Life serendipitously brought me into support groups through work, which has been beneficial). Maybe this was foolish. Maybe it would have been wiser to, as Ellen Mains does in her book Buried Rivers, work to integrate it all into the path all along – not editing it out of the internal dialog, allowing the conversation.
“Considering how common illness is, how tremendous the spiritual change that it brings, how astonishing, when the lights of health go down, the undiscovered countries that are then disclosed… it becomes strange indeed that illness has not taken its place with love and battle and jealousy among the prime themes of literature.– Virginia Woolf, found in a completely wonderful and worthwhile post from Brainpickings
I do love the sudden afternoon rains in summer though, especially when occasionally they stretch into hours. The air turns suddenly cool, the edge off the harshness. It feels like permission to breathe, permission not to worry. Whatever I’m ‘supposed to be’ working on to make up for gives way. Mentally I stop to imagine that the rain is cooling the waters of the Atlantic that begin to boil this time of year and brew monster storms.
The truth is I’m worrying way too much these days, doubting decisions and feeling ill-equipped. Sometimes all my tools and strategies of positivity – feeding more to the happy wolf – turn on me too. “If you’d only do the affirmations whether it feels silly or not…” “If you add another hour of meditation…” “Be more grateful…” All fine and indeed wonderful things to do.
Most of the time it is neither one or the other but a clashing of both instincts, both or two at least, ‘me’s. The silver linings really ARE there. Miracles DO occur. Life has never been easy really, after all, but like the spring-summer setting in all around me now, it has always been astoundingly beautiful.