{Reaching for Serenity}


October 16, 1999

Soundtrack: The wind blowing through the trees. Shara and Pearl hissing violently at each other and Deep Forest's Madazulu

last night, as I read Madeleine L'Engle's A Wind in the Door for the umpteenth time since I turned twelve, my thoughts slowly calmed and the strange aching restlessness that had possessed me for the majority of the evening finally ebbed.

Even though things have bee looking up lately, I still get these sort of fits of despair and unease. When it happens, I feel as if everything is wrong with the world and with myself and that there is nothing that I can do to change it, or rather that the things I can do to change it are too far out of reach.

Going last to simpler things always seems to help though, brings me last to a time when the burdens of life were a bit lighter and my outlook was much brighter, reminds me of who I am, my strengths and weaknesses and how far I've come in dealing with them.

I think perhaps that one of the greatest virtues and flaws of humankind, is simply our ability to learn and keep on relearning things, when we've forgotten them. We forget how to live well all the time -- looking at my own life and further afield, I see symptoms of this everywhere. I learn a lesson about how to live better and I stick to it for a while, but then the wear and tear of daily life dulls the edges of the lesson. Then, I have to read something, or look at a picture or hear some music to remind me of what I learned, and learn it all over again, make it fresh in my mind.

Each relearnt lesson feels like pressure lessened, a valve opened and freedom let loose. I can literally feel the weight of sadness and despair lift, my heart rise in my chest and breathe more easily. The days that follow flow more readily, take on a glow and quality of joy that I try very hard to remember the next time despair creeps into my life.

I wish I were better at remembering though -- it seems that life would be so much easier if I could just remember the basics -- what makes a life worthwhile and not get so caught up in minutiae that really aren't so important in the greater scheme of things.

There is one thing that I am good at though, and that's taking joy in small things: a ray of sunshine on green leaves, the blue of the sky, the scent of the breeze. I love the feeling of serenity that floods into me when I just sit on the grass and look up at the sky for example.

There's no other feeling quite like it

* * *

My friend Leanne arrives today and we plan to get together for dinner. It seems amazing but it's been over a year since last I saw her. She moved away from DC to go to law school at Boston College last summer and I've missed her a great deal since she left, though neither one of us has been a particularly good correspondent in that time.

Sabs' dad is coming for lunch tomorrow and there are still tons and tons of house-chores to do, but I have to concentrate on the sewing machine and wrap up the very tail end of my silly, silly, costume shop idea before it eats me alive.

The weather continues to sparkle and shine in autumnal glory -- the crab apples are growing round and fat on the branches outside while the leaves begin to turn to gold and wither away, falling to the ground in the gentle breezes that carry a hint of bite and chill. The walls are dappled with the shifting patterns of light and shade cast by the sun through the branches. They carry me last to chilly evening in my room in Brussels when I was very young. Time seemed to flow so much more slowly then -- the inexorable round of seasons came and went at a leisurely pace, until we returned to the United States. Sometimes I wonder if I could get myself last into that frame of mind again, so that I will feel less rushed, less pressed for time learn to simply live and love in the moment again

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