Little puppies of gloom nipped at my mind through the night and into the morning. It’s a sign that the “black dog” of depression maybe on her way. Someone kindly gave me a lot of art supplies yesterday. He was moving and gave me what he couldn’t pack. I went through the bags and boxes that were hastily put together and tried to find what I could use from it all but I only wound up frustrated. I wasn’t sure what I could really use and I have limited space in my one bedroom, two person apartment.
Am I so disorganized that I can’t even accept a gift? Should it be that hard to sort through this stuff? Is my new medications scrambling my brain? I know it’s making it more difficult to walk. My muscles had gotten so spastic, twitchy and spasmy, I could not longer put off going on a strong muscle relaxer. After less that a week, I can already feel my bad leg dragging more and my “good” leg (it’s not perfect) slowing down. It’s demoralizing when to solve one problem you have to adopt another.
Sorting through a bag of oil, acrylic and other paint tubes, I almost started crying. This is valuable, but do I need it? Is this too old? Should I give this to my neighbor? Will I ever learn how to paint well? Is it okay to prefer drawing to painting? Do I really prefer it or am I limited by fear? Finally I put the all the supplies in a pile and told my husband to take it to SCRAP and the Goodwill. I got on my scooter and went outside.
It’s a cool spring day with a bit of sprinkly rain and a chilly breeze, but after a few blocks of poking along on my mobility scooter, I noticed the brilliant green with yellow undertones of the new leaves on the trees, like swaying dancers against the gray sky. Nothing was nipping at my mind. The sense of wonder at growth and change trumped any gloom, stilled the growling of any dog of depression.
I often miss gardening. But I try to appreciate the fact that so many are still at the task and I can see their efforts. Everything alive grows from everything that has passed before — everything experiences physical change unto the ultimate change when we pass into death and decomposition is part of the magnificent mystery of life. I don’t know why we have pain, why we suffer, why our own minds sometime seem to be working against us. But I do know that nature heals.
On this misty May day, with sun breaks and storm clouds, my eyes (with glasses) are working just fine. These nature strolls where I look closely at trees, at the shape of bark, at the form of leaves, at the intricate depth of a flower — I sometimes feel that they leave me open to an invasive species –it has invaded the poor soil of my mind and I bloom in ways I couldn’t have imagined when I dragged myself out of the house.
The trick is to not focus on the internal, to look out into the world and let it seed your thoughts. Even if it’s a dandelion field, it brims with diverse life. And so do I, and so do you.