Watch and wait

I’ve been watching the volcano in Iceland, for more than three months now. An incredible show of Mother Nature’s power and glory, faithfully releasing a flow of hot red molten lava every few minutes. It gushes haplessly down the slopes and into the valley below, then hurtles off at an incredible pace toward…I have no idea. The municipal engineers have vainly tried on at least two occasions to construct earthen berms to direct the flow away from travelled roadways, but in general it is all for nought. The lava will go where it goes, having no concern for flimsy structures from the hands of our kind.

I’m also watching a live cam of a bald eagle and her new offspring, perched in a nest way up high in Alaska’s Glacier Park. The mamma bird is attentive to her little eaglet, who is fuzzy headed and looks more like a stuffed toy than anything that could possibly be alive. The little one doesn’t quite know what to do with their wings or their feet, all of which seem fours sizes too big for such a tiny body. The daddy bird comes and goes, usually dropping off a fish or two for the family.

These are majestic and incredibly beautiful creatures, and have no needs for the names that have been ascribed for them – Liberty for the famale, Freedom for the male, and Kindness for the little one. Not sure where that last name came from, but it doesn’t matter a whit to any of the birds. They go where they go, they do what they do, and that’s all there is to it.

The interesting part about watching these big birds is there’s a non-viable egg left in the nest, but the mamma bird doesn’t know it’s non-viable. She sits on it for hours, every day, because that’s what a female bird does when there’s a egg. I had to laugh at one point when the little one got comfortable in the depression where the egg was situated, and there was a bit of a shoving match between mamma and baby. Mamma somehow manages to cover both the non-viable egg and the little one under her body somehow, because that’s what she does.

I don’t always know what I do. I find myself doing things because I have gone through the motions of contemplating and planning and setting my intent and then acting on the intent and still wind up doing something that really doesn’t serve me. I hatch a lot of non-viable eggs, it seems. Sometimes I feel as though I am sleep-walking, in a hazy almost-real world that seems to exist only inside me. Maybe I’m living between parallel realities or something. It would be just like me to be caught in the breach.

There was some hellatious building collapse in Florida earlier today. A high-rise condo complex inexplicably crumpled to the ground, in just a minute or two. Last time I checked, there were still almost a hundred people missing, and there was an intense search and rescue effort in progress. One ray of sunlight came through, however. A 10-year old boy was rescued, with barely a scratch on him. He had been sleeping, one minute he was in his bed, the next minute he’s 300 feet down, under the bed, and on top of a mountain of broken walls and dust. His mother had been in the condo with him, but they had not found her when I was tuned in.

Whatever it is that you’re doing at any given moment, sleeping or running or cussing somebody out or watching a football game on television you never know if that will be the last time you do that. I always wonder if I knew it would be the last time I was perched behind this laptop and typing on this keyboard, would I do anything differently. I have no idea, but I suppose this is why there are constant reminders to make one’s time count, no matter how mundane the task, and remain firmly rooted to the present moment.

That’s all just grand. sounds good for a motivational video script or something, but in the present moment we get distracted. Our minds race out in front of us at warp speed, and suddenly time has passed and you have no idea where it went. I suppose that’s a topic for another day, but it has always frustrated me how quickly I can lapse into la-la land without a moment’s notice. I guess as long as I don’t live attempt to live there permanently, I’ll survive.

I’m a bit uneasy tonight, having spent most of the day staring at the computer screen as I tried to do justice to this annual conference I’m attending. Zoom is tiresome for things like that, where you are invisibly shackled to the computer, in nearly a hypnotic state, staring slack-jawed at the screen where tiny shapes dance madly about. I fell asleep twice. There is only so much a person can absorb in a given block of time, only so many reports you can clap for, only so many times you can bear to hear talk about things we should be doing rather than talking about. But these are my people. Well, some of them, anyway.

There was a session earlier where random people were placed in breakout rooms to discuss something obtuse like why we had come to the conference. I wanted to say because I’m so effing bored I would have given a bat an enema just to break up the day. But I am paying them to bore me to nod off like some ancient dowager, mouth open and drooling on her t-shirt. Fortunately we are muted for most o these presentations, so they couldn’t hear me snore.

The tenets of this faith are strong for me. We are non-creedal, which is a very attractive thing for me. Like any other bunch of over privileged humans with advanced degrees, there is an over abundance of talk and tweaking of process and wordsmithing. I have been to this conference several times in person, and while it’s kind of a high to be with three or four thousand other people who you share your faith (so you don’t have to explain it), it’s also kind of a downer when you realize they’re only human, even if they do know how to navigate a meeting using Robert’s Rules of Order.

Humans get full of themselves, and I speak from experience. We are creatures of ego, and we mean well. Whenever I hear that offered as an excuse for something that bombed, my response is always, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Take the shot. Fail again. Fail better. Some of us think we should never fail, because if we had planned better, or thought it through better or implemented better, we wouldn’t have failed. At which point I laugh hysterically and point out they have fallen victim to the same kinds of Calvinistic idioms they felt they had risen so far above.

Sometimes you take the shot, you fail. You do a post-mortem to find out what happened. Maybe that’s successful, maybe not. So, try again. Fail again. Fail better. Now, truth be told, I understand that. It resonates, it sings inside me, I get it. But. When do you call it quits? When do you say it’s not worth your while to keep making an effort on something that just for all the world seems to be an non-viable egg. It’s not going to hatch, no matter how long you sit on it. It is an ex-egg, something didn’t go quite right, and it’s done. When do you stop hoping that if you just sit on it a little longer, maybe change positions a little, maybe roll it over and cushion it a little better it will right itself and hatch?

I never know when to quit. I’m mostly not a quitter, but this last job I had, I quit. I gave up. The system was too inflexible and they had decided I was dragging them down with my poor performance. They couldn’t understand, nor did they care to understand, that I had given up. I was done. I had nothing else to give, and it just didn’t matter any longer. I didn’t quit my life, though. But, it has taken me a long while to recuperate from that toxicity.

Volcanos do what they do, eagles do what they do, and I do what I do. My heart does what it does, goes where it pleases, hides when it needs to. I chastise myself when I develop an attachment to people I know are treating me badly, or just not interested in the kind of friendship I enjoy. Sometimes I keep trying, and that’s when I talk to myself and question why in the hell I keep doing that. I just don’t know.

Today, I felt very disconnected from myself. That’s such an odd feeling to have. It’s like having one of those vague itches that you just can’t scratch. Something’s missing, but I’m not quite sure what it is. I’m shying away from meeting new people, don’t want to interact with people I don’t know these days. There was a woman on one of the breakout sessions today, though, I couldn’t help but notice. The attraction was so strong I thought I might go through the screen. She was in Rochester or something, I believe. Very nice woman, seemed very intelligent and savvy. What was pulling me, however, was none of that. It was that she looked so much like my mother it was frightening. It wasn’t a totally unpleasant experience, but I found myself babbling nonsensically like a child as the conversation went on. That was an unexpected bonus for today.

So, now I’m babbling again. I suppose I’m pretty tired. It wasn’t a bad day outside, when I was able to venture out. We had another cold front come through, meaning the high today was 85 instead of 90. Wow. Better get out the hoodies and gloves. Meanwhile, the West Coast is experiencing what I call nuclear fusion heat, and they have drought. We have drought, too, except that it’s drought of originality and compassion, not so mucht eh water supply.

Some days, I don’t know why I bother. Before I got sober, I was so miserable and whipped that I seriously prayed to not wake up the next morning. When I did wake up, I was pissed as hell. I was getting to that point again, just a few weeks ago, but I think I’m past that hump now. Brain chemistry is a strange and frightening thing. The more they know about it, the more they realize they don’t know. I have bene fooling with my brain for most of my life, and somedays I have to stand on one leg and face North-North-East in order to get my head on straight. It just be that way sometimes. Like sometimes you get a fish dropped in your nest, other days its a bunch of berries and a dead chipmunk. Just keep moving.

Life can be such a crap shoot at times. When I leave my apartment and travel to some other place, if I speed up to run this yellow light did I set a sequence of things in motion that caused somebody else to get creamed at the end of the block? One never knows, but I am just demented enough to worry about such things.

Right this minute, I’m aware that all of this babbling, and the earlier babbling with the woman who looked like my mother, is all because I’m scared. I need a job to make me a little less scared, but even that won’t eradicate all of the fear. I think I was born with fear, and to some extent, it’s just a part of who I am. Fear that people I love are going to abandon me, and guess what? They do. But I’m still here, I just don’t understand why. Apparently, I’m not supposed to understand why, but that really sucks.

If I could have anything in the Universe that I wanted, anything that could make me happier than I have ever been, I don’t even know what that is. There has been so much deprivation I don’t know quite what it would feel like to have everything I wanted, or at least to have more than what I just needed. I suppose there is some part of me that feels like having that desire for excess is immoral, or on the wrong side of acceptable and respectable. I don’t feel respectable. I have never felt respectable. Maybe that’s more than what it’s cracked up to be.

Dignity? Nah – I have done things I said I never would,. Class? Definitely not – I know which fork to use for salad, but the rest of the finishing school etiquette is pretty lost on me. Truthful? Getting there. Back in the day, I lied about everything, even things I didn”t need to lie about. I had trouble remembering what I’d told to who. Honor? Maybe. I try to keep my promises, and I don’t make very many any more, just in case I might not be able to keep them. Self-activated? Sadly – no. I’m still activated and motivated by other peoples’ definition and me and what I should be doing. People say I’m strong, but as I said earlier, I just don’t know when to stop. That’s not really being strong, it’s just being clueless.

At the UU soiree this week, the President of the Association made a comment that has stuck with me – how do you say yes? That is going to take a lot of thought and reflection. It occurred to me that I know how to say nom although I probably don’t say it enough. People pleasers rarely do. But how exactly do I say yes? I’ve gotta think on this for a minute.

Stand and deliver.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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