It’s awkward to write after long pauses, especially to write something with substance. You’d think I would know this by now. Whenever I tried to write, I realized that the results always read like complaints and I deleted draft after draft. A part of me had chalked up the whole year to badness and disappointment, and I didn’t want to ruminate on things I was powerless to change. (Hence no Reverb or Reverbish efforts this year.) There is no denying the sadness of being apart from Myron for so many months, or the frustration of contractors who miss deadlines without calling, or the rigmarole of selling a house, a process which has absolutely no good parts except for the fact that eventually you get to buy a new one.
I simmered in unpleasant feelings. Selling your house is inviting strangers to critique every bit of it, every corner, weighing your color choices and housekeeping skills and the contents of your refrigerator. As much as I tried to divorce my sense of Home from the building itself, I mostly failed at this and compensated with freakouts, insomnia, oversleeping, ABC Afterschool Specials on YouTube, and popcorn with pimentón de la vera. My lack of control amplified everything that was less than perfect with stereophonic self-blame. When the house sold and I told myself I could let go of the breath I’d been holding since May, it turned out that my body was too used to not breathing and had evolved past it. To a large extent, I am still tense at every joint, barely sleeping, unable to calm down.
I am aware of the problem of scale here. I know that these are not major problems and that people face worse all the time. To that I say three things: First, of course I know that. Second, no one ever knows the whole story. Third, twice now my eyelid has torn off a chunk of my cornea when I woke up in the morning. This is a thing that happens now. I have created my own ecosystem of stress and I need my own Darwin to catalog it all.
In a few short weeks Myron will be back here, the movers will load everything into trucks, and we’ll be off. Soon after I’ll be unpacking boxes in the new house, which just passed its hundredth birthday. I will rediscover all the things I put away in the summer back when Gullible Me thought this would be over with long ago.
I hope for the best. I do. The long, rich autumn this year was a blessing. When the snow finally came I almost didn’t even mind. And I managed to shoot a picture I’ve wanted to shoot for years, ever since I noticed that snowflakes really do look like this if you catch them in the right conditions. They vanish in seconds. At least for me, ephemeral things teach lessons that lasting things can’t.