Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Sam was a runner--a wanderer. His wife dropped him off in the morning at eight and picked him up each day around three-a schedule that no doubt improved the quality of her life (and in turn, his) tremendously. The problem is, because of Sam's disease, the routine was meaningless--he had no day-to-day memory of it. He'd walk out of the building and down the street in search of her, which was dangerous, as well as a liability. We placed an alarm-sensor on a lanyard around his neck that helped monitor his whereabouts, but ultimately, his anxiety went unchecked--new anxiety, fresh fear, several times a day. Can you even imagine?
This is when his wife came through in a moment of genius: a simple note, tucked in his shirt pocket.
Dear Sam, it read.
I will pick you up today at 3:00. I promise.
The humanity! Of course we had to remind him the note was there, but the relief he felt unfolding the worn slip of paper was palpable. It was something he could hold on to, and it worked.
As for me, here: It is now or never, writing this blog post. How I can explain a nearly-five month absence is the hardest part and what's been waking me up at night with the rattles. You know, when you're awake in bed, your thoughts rattling around making their distracting sounds while you roll over and fret and toss in covers so unruly they had to have been raised by wolves. What can I say? I got busy? My fingers fell off. Someone stole my computer. I fell down a hole inside myself. Hmmm. We're getting close.
On the morning of my last entry, we were days from opening our greenhouse and I was managing a mental to-do list a mile long. The thing about what I do is, once the gun fires and we're off, there's no time for lovely photos or a witty aside. It is intense, sticky, and all-consuming. I worked every single day in May and almost every one in June and July until we closed. I rarely had time for myself and when I say "time" I don't mean an afternoon of shopping or lattes, I mean time in solitude. I am someone who needs this, second to food and sleep and fresh air and maybe more than coffee. I am learning how to guard these moments and it's a struggle when the work I do, when I'm doing it, leaves little time to tend to even basic needs like the big three above. If I don't protect the quiet, or seek it out, it is nearly impossible to write what I feel, or for that matter, feel at all. The upside of all this is I can honestly say I relate to the time-to-make-the-donuts man in a way that I never could before. Somebody give that guy a hug. If I would have only had a note--one like Dottie wrote, but from myself. Don't worry, it would have said. I won't leave you in this place, this hurried, stilted state. I'll pick you up in five months; maybe I'll bring a donut.
These last few weeks have been a flurry of back-to-school festivities and travel...and today it is raining and grey, and yes there is time for glorious quiet. Introspection and laundry: a winning combination. I'm hoping, yes--intending, to create a rhythm of words and solitude for myself here at my little yellow table, and I'm thankful to any of you out there who might still be reading. Your sweet nudges for a word from me mean so much. I promise I'll be back in a day or two.