It’s Sunday morning, 9:42 Mountain Time. My cup of Tazo soy chai tea is empty. (I lean to my right and peak in to check.) The paper is not here yet and probably won’t be for another hour. It is overcast, cold and windy outside. I have three projects that need to be worked on today – two that are on hold for technical reasons and one that I am not looking forward to. At noon, a friend is coming over and we will review some options for her social media projects and then choose a plan of action. I just checked my schedule and realized she’s not coming until one, which means I have an extra hour.
My three finches, Huey, Dewey and Louie, are flying around the cage that is in front of the window to my left. I need to clean the seed husks, feathers and dust from below the cage. Two Beanie Baby stuffed animals, a leopard and a sea horse, are sitting on top of a USPS priority mail box that has not yet been made into a box and lays flat next to the lamp. My daughters grabbed the leopard on accident from the beach house we stayed at on spring break back in April. We found the leopard among their toys in May, and decided to send it back to the owner along with a new sea horse friend. Two weeks ago I remembered to pick up a shipping box when I was downtown at the post office for the first time in a few months. The stuffed animals have been sitting, waiting to be shipped since then.
It’s 9:53 and I’m back from a short break where I read today’s goddess and contemplation in Julie Loar’s Goddesses for Every Day book. The November 28 goddess is Minerva, and the contemplation is “I clear my mind of judgment and see the chain of consequences that flows from each choice.” There is a tick-a, tick-a, tick-a sound in the background and then a DING to remind me my toast is done. I realize I don’t hear the tick of my kitchen clock and look up above the sink and see that I forgot to wind it again. The clock has stopped at 1:50. I will wait until that time this afternoon to get it going again since it will take some time standing on a chair to wait through seven hours and half hours of chiming to get to the current time.
I feel empty today, and unmotivated. I wish there was snow outside so I could go for a cross country ski and get out of this funk. I turn 40 in one week and was hoping to plan a big birthday party. Rather than the stress of getting my house cleaned up in time for a party, I was planning on renting a condo for the night. The condos are right down the street and I get a nice discount through my best friend. But the day I was getting ready to plan the party I learned that a long-time friend had died in an avalanche. He left behind a wife who was my son’s fifth-grade teacher, and two young boys, one of whom is in my daughter’s second-grade class. For the first 4 days after I heard the news and learned more about the accident, I had a hard time getting to bed because I didn’t want to lay and think about what he went through and what his wife and family are going through. I would wake up in the morning and be thinking about him in the snow, about another friend who was the one who had to dig him out of the snow and attempt to revive him, about his wife who suddenly has no husband or father to her children.
I ran in to a friend a few days ago whose own husband’s funeral I attended one year ago this week. He died suddenly from a heart attack. I spoke with another young friend who lost her husband to suicide 18 months ago. She is with someone new now, a man who loves her two children and helps her emotionally. She told me that their plans to have a baby together are now happening: she’s pregnant.
My own kids have been with their dads all week so I’ve had a lot of quiet time to digest and contemplate and think. I feel so fortunate that I haven’t had to deal with what those three women have had to go through. Death by suicide, heart attack and avalanche; no death is easy, but having kids and being in a small town where everyone knows what happened can be a hard burden to bear. I wish my kids were here so I could give them a hug, but I suppose I’m glad they’re not so I can deal with this without putting the weight of my most recent sorrow on them.
By Friday after Thanksgiving of this week (today is Sunday) I had thought about my 40th birthday party plans but then read in the local paper that a memorial for my friend who died in the avalanche was planned for the morning of Saturday, December 4th, which was the same day I was thinking of having my party. (My birthday is December 6th.) I knew I couldn’t emotionally celebrate the evening after attending that memorial, so I’ll either have no party at all, or maybe move it to the following weekend. But that next weekend is my best friend’s kid’s ballet performance of the Nutcracker in Durango and I couldn’t attend last year due to finances. I want to be there with my family to watch this year.
I don’t think my 40th birthday will be marked with a big celebration after all, but I’m okay with that. I reflect on today’s Minerva goddess contemplation: “I clear my mind of judgment and see the chain of consequences that flows from each choice.”
Things happen, not necessarily for a reason or because they are supposed to, but just because they happen. I am very thankful to be here, to be sitting in a warm house, typing on a nice laptop, using a fast internet connection, eating a piece of organic whole grain toasted bread with real butter after finishing a nice cup of chai tea. I have money in the bank to buy my children Christmas presents. At a cocktail party last night I learned that a musician friend is dying from inoperable brain cancer. Earlier this month I was told by a friend and mentor that he has a brain tumor and is losing his vision.
I’m here and I’m healthy. Many aren’t that fortunate.
And I have almost three more hours until my friend comes over and we have Dan-Dan noodles from the Chinese food restaurant downtown. If I can find the 3 left-over galvanized nails from my siding repair job last month, I will put on warm clothes, brave the wind and head out back to fix the pieces of siding that I noticed are not adequately attached next to my bedroom window. The pieces are at a height that I won’t need a ladder. Maybe by then the paper will be here and I can get lost in that for a while until my next project starts. For now, keeping my mind busy will help me stop thinking of Scott Kay. But then again, maybe I will think about Scott and how glad I am he was in my life.