Saturday, July 5, 2014

Leaving the refuge

It's tough to eat breakfast (and do it quietly) in the company of a certain canine. She gets up early and insists that I throw a really heavy Kong toy, over and over and over. There's really no saying no to her. Little progress is being made on the eating front, which seems to be part of the plan.

Despite her efforts to distract and then destroy my free will with a guilty look, at 6:20am, with the whole household asleep I manage to roll out. Down the long dirt driveway, headed for points south.

On the road home, I should feel glad. Instead my heart is heavy. We've stayed almost three days, which is almost long enough. More than adequate to take stock, to realize the personal toll of the past few months.

The new job, its daily routine. The crowds of stupid, selfish people and their cars and shopping and freeways. The lawyers, doctors, insurance companies, and in general the whole grim game of Survival in the Big City.

Spending the daylight hours in an abnormally clean, air-conditioned building where no one sees the real me. Nights and weekends become short furloughs. Too tired to write anything down.

On rides, I'm often composing letters in my head to doctors who got it wrong, family members who got it wrong. Yes I'm lucky to have a job, lucky for what it is, but I also resent being so far behind, everything being so hard. Having to struggle so much.

I've been feeling adrift and helpless, angry. At sixes and sevens, as my dad says. This place and the creatures in it have a way of making me whole again. This time like the others, they put me back together.

It feels ephemeral and rare, to be really listened to and cared for. Jokes and crossword puzzles and local outings. Chocolate. Stories of people we all know. Restful sleep, among the trees and birds. At night the stars are legion, and the sky behind them is black and mysterious.

What will I do when this is gone? Why am I leaving now?

The journey feels really hard right now. Even having a refuge is hard, because I have to leave it and go back into the world. Get broken again.

I wonder about people who don't have a place to go where there is love and acceptance. What do they do? How on earth do they make it anywhere?


  1. Some dogs really do have that guilt-inducing look down, don't they?
    It's hard when the quiet moments are ones where you compose letters or have conversations in your head, and they're all angry and confrontational. When all the stuff you're thinking about has a negative edge to it, so you don't get any rest from it. It's just... it's hard. It's draining. I don't know how to get out of that other than maybe being aware and trying to forcibly change the channel in my head - think of something brainless and fluffy and happy and KEEP trying to think of something happy whenever my brain skulks back to the angry thing. I think of things like the CD of Pink Floyd music I found, performed by the London Philharmonic. Or the book I found about the use of bicycles in wartime (really! A whole book!). (There may also be a lot of chocolate.) It's... little things to hang onto.
    I hope you find more good things, more helpful things, more weekends or evenings with stuff that restores you.

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  3. Dearest beloved sister, I'm probably not qualified to offer you advice, but here is some anyway. Please forgive me if you don't like it. Always remember why you choose the paths you do. If you're working in a particular environment, you do it for a reason, whatever it is, financial, emotional, social, etc. It's never going to be perfect nor intrinsically consistent with your values. But you gain something from it and you should hang on to that to remind yourself why you're there. Or, if it's not what you want to do, then change what you're doing. You're an incredibly intelligent, perceptive, creative, sensitive, tough human being and I admire you from here to the end of everything. You have many options in life. I love your writing this blog and miss your less-frequent posts now that you're busier. One can't create an ideal world but one can make the choices one wants to and has to to have those things (like $) that we need to survive. You've helped me with several important decisions and I thank you for all of those. You belong in this world just as you are with all of your ideas and love and I'm super-glad you're here. I always feel a huuuuuge tug when leaving redwood country…sometimes it brings tears. Wanna hang out soon? Love always and forever, Your big(gest) sister