...that life is simply like this, cycles of worry and doubt and disappointment punctuated by the considerable pleasures of daily life. It's just the way it is. I understand these days how a human plodding through life eventually asks, "what does this all mean?" and how she might conclude, "there is no particular meaning" just as reasonably as any of the grander answers offered by the world's gurus and priests.
So I get up early, my fierce little chip of consciousness in the world a mystery of idiosyncrasy, the "me" I have to carry through all this pulsing, fleeting life. The house is a mess. I make a cup of tea, load the dishwasher, sort bills and throw away junk mail. At the dining room table, I sweep off crumbs from last night's dinner with Ted: lift off the brass candlesticks and pull off the long tablecloth to toss down the laundry chute.
It was lobster stew in the new blue bowls and macaroni and cheese in heavy little ramikins. I found an old opened bottle of red and poured myself a glass -- just enough left to go with dinner. We held hands and I offered "grace," the two of us warmly agreeing to that moment of "yes," our customized version of childhood ritual, not exactly our fathers' prayers, but words of gratitude nonetheless, thrown out to the universe, the impulse toward that Something Else.
So, though I'm technically alone down here, snuggled in my bathrobe in the LazyBoy, sipping my mint green tea, my black laptop warm on my thighs in this quiet hour before a February dawn, I also understand -- increasingly and with compassion -- that I'm part of the human race, and we're all like this from time to time -- ticked off and unappreciated, stopped from getting what we want by obtuse and stupid others, hurt by illness, politics, or nature, propelled by the adrenaline of anger and hope...we travel perilously in this world. If I didn't have to march out into it in just an hour or so, I think I've calmed myself down enough that I bet I could go right back to bed and sleep. And sleep. And sleep.
But I can't. It's time to get back out there.
Not a hero
5 years ago