Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sinking into the Silence

One of the things about our annual migration is that it gives me a space for reflection and silence. In France, Michael takes over the role of primary communicator, as his French is better than mine. This is a big change, and it alters our dynamic in ways that are interesting and healthy for both of us. On top of that, when the girls aren’t here, days go by without me speaking to anyone except Michael. That too, is a nice change, as my life is usually filled to the brimful with talktalktalk. I like that and it energizes and keeps me going as I’m an interactive person. Stepping into the silence each year for a bit gives me valuable time to reflect, rest and recharge. Resting is especially high on the agenda this year, as I’m tired.

We’ve learned over the years to do the gardening first, as the plants in the built-in window boxes rarely survive year to year, while the bigger plants generally do. This year, we have pink and purple new plants in the window boxes and the bougainvillea, while challenged by cats trying to rootectomize them through digging, are hanging on and determinedly surviving. The calvary has ridden to the rescue and they’re bouncing back with gratifying rapidity. The colors here feed my soul in important ways and I feel better already. Our indoor plants, two orchids and, I think, a bromeliad, do for the inside what the terrace does outside. Does anyone know what this one is? Dr. Google and I haven’t yet been able to identify it definitively.

On top of the recharging, this year calls for some serious reflection, both because of the major transition I’m facing and because this quiet place, where for decades my main activity has been reading, highlights that it is time to work through and find some resolution to my sense of self-displacement. With my ability and interest in reading disrupted, I’m plugging away both at continuing to try (and finding sporadic success) and at adapting to what seems to be the new reality.

A root problem for me is how to think about my personal challenge, which is not really a “problem” in any real sense of the word when compared to what’s out there in the world. It feels whiny (a serious sin in my book) to think or talk about this as a problem and yet, without thinking and talking about it, it is not possible to process or integrate it. It’s a conundrum. The central issue, I think is one of proportionality. It only takes looking around or reading a newspaper to recognize that I’m entirely lucky in every respect. Still, that doesn’t change this sensation of being an alien in my own body. There’s no real resolution, only a sense that it’s time to get on with it. Somehow. Any and all tips and pointers welcome. Oh, and did I mention? My scalp clicks consistently now. There is some kind of strange discontinuity in my skull that causes my scalp to click when touched in a certain way. It has a strange fascination to it which I can only liken to the feeling of quickening babies kicking inside. At least that one is completely understandable in its physiology; this clicking is just plain strange. It seems benign, and yet having an explanation as to the mechanism and cause would really help and probably let me accept it and move on more successfully, leaving it alone more.

Michael is off playing boules with the informal club that welcomes him annually--another change in our routines. He’s a social butterfly here (at least on his scale), and much in demand as a teammate. I’m getting ready to work, having done nothing but nap and try to read and sit in the sun for a few days. Wish me luck.

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