There’s melt in the streets. And a strange sound over my head—water drizzling down from the eaves into the downspouts. Winter is letting up—at least it’s affording us a breather. A collective sigh rises up from the whole town. Folks hunched over their coffee cups at the café sit up a little straighter. Smiles come a little easier to winter-tired faces.
My own internal winter is letting up as well.
Wednesday I hit a wall of despair. Swimming my laps in the pool, I knew I couldn’t go back to my apartment for one more day of fighting myself and losing. I gave my self permission to go to Des Moines. After six weeks of frugal living, I allowed a therapeutic splurge.
The movie was awful, but the actual movie is never the point. It’s the going. It’s the ritual of driving through Starbucks, going into Panera for my bagel, sitting in the huge, empty food court and writing in my journal with earbuds firmly in place. It’s the familiar rite of ticket, popcorn, and finding the perfect seat. It’s making a nest and soaking in the previews—all those good movies coming. The rhythm of ritual is comfort and safety. It’s my rosary with a different kind of bead.
Afterward I went to Barnes and Noble to read magazines and fell asleep in the big easy chair. So tired. Worn through by this long depression. Then, meditation with my friends, who were so glad to see me after six weeks away. And in our quiet conversation, I felt the melt begin. A subtle shift of temperature. A warming of my mental air. I thought the day and my friends might have just cheered me a little—I’ve been fooled by false springs before. But, the thaw seems to be holding.
I can feel my brain recalibrating and leavening as the mental ice floes break apart. It’s a little easier to do what I want instead of being driven by compulsion. There’s a suggestion of joy, like the tremor of seeds under the frozen earth. And it’s enough. Just knowing winter doesn’t last forever. It’s enough.