Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Solstice

solstice: an astronomical event that happens twice each year when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the North or South Pole. The word solstice is derived from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because at the solstices, the Sun stands still in declination; that is, the seasonal movement of the Sun's path (as seen from Earth) comes to a stop before reversing direction.

So many things to do. Such a finite amount of sunshine to do it in.

I’ve decided I am in a bit of a summer solstice. The past few weeks have been so terrific, I feel like I’ve lost a little of my characteristic angst which is, I think, the emotion that drives me to write. I have such a feeling of quiet and balance and hush in my life lately. There have been so many times in my life that I have plowed through the difficult, or maintained a fair degree of sanity in the midst of chaos that the hush in my life makes me want to say, “What’s that noise?” And the noise I am hearing is quiet. Maybe even some contentment sprinkled in around the edges.

Certainly, the past year or two has been tricky. And I am ready to just lay down that dead bird: Yes, I had breast cancer and now I don’t. Period. Still, I am always aware that I am like a new 5-year calendar with only the first two years’ worth of pages having been gently put away so as not to stir the others. But it’s more than that. With my knee fixed, and my jogging therapy about to start next month (Yes. Jogging therapy. Or at least a measured plan to get me back into jogging), I get a step or two closer to this life I have imagined for so long. The one where I am healthy and I can walk, occasionally jog. The one where I actually have a strong core, just like in the commercials.

My newly reconstructed knee – or as a friend characterizes it: the knee with “a piece of dead dude on it” – is back to doing long bike rides and enjoying summer – which doesn’t officially start until tomorrow. And the fact that I live in Minnesota, the land of the midnight sun where it doesn’t get dusky outside until about 9:30 or 10:00 really helps. I feel clearer. Things seem possible. I’m working out more and actually enjoying it. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m unstuck and I’m finding my way. It’s funny that I should think it’s a solstice: of reaching a height and standing still only to reverse direction. Like a car on a roller coaster gliding over the inevitable ups and downs of the track with grace and speed and not a small bit of rattling. I suppose it feels that way because of the quiet, in my head and in my heart.

A few weeks ago, when I was feeling so unsettled, a good friend sent me this:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” --Rainer Maria Rilke

I have this posted at my desk and for the first time, feel that I can think about loving the questions themselves. And if I’m lucky, I will figure out the rest of it while I am enjoying the sunshine, or the laughter of my son, or when I realize that we only, each of us, get so many summers and it's a shame not to enjoy each and every one. (Shhhhh, I’m listening to the hush.)

Life is good.

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