The Dream of Equinox

This is one of those magical times of the year when we hover on a cusp.  For a moment we balance between light and dark, neither summer or winter but both.  We are not Either/Or, but And/Also.  In my part of the country, we can feel the change in temperature, see the new slant of the sun.  Change is coming, but it’s not here quite yet.

For me, the Equinox carries a dreamy quality.  Time slows to that one pin-point moment of balance.  A clock inside me resets.  A shutter snaps.  And then, I’m on the other side, sliding into winter, the paradigm changed.

Equinox feels even more poignant this year as my family stands on a cusp.  Settling Dad in the nursing home yesterday seemed unreal, dreamlike.  I found myself slipping in and out of time.  Listening to my mom’s nervous chatter, I felt my attention narrow to the slide of my hand across her back, the softness of her sweatshirt, the vulnerability of her small shoulders.  Then, I would look up and catch my sister’s eyes.  Is this the balance point?  When we blink, will we slide into winter?

Aides, nurses, social workers, dietitians, our family all crowded into one side of the double room, talking over the roommate’s blaring TV, talking over each other, darting in and out of the room in a jittery dance.  All the while, Dad sat in the new lift chair, his hands folded over his belly, his gaze focused on an empty spot in the room, the dream wrapped around him.  I wondered how long he could rest in that balance point, how long he could stretch the moment before crossing the threshold into what’s to come.

A shutter snapped.  And now we are all on the other side.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathryn McCullough
    Sep 23, 2011 @ 06:19:52

    Sandy, your writing here is incredible. The lyricism of the prose kind of blows me away, my friend! ( I would add the tags “autumn” and “fall.”) This post should be Freshly Pressed–just lovely!


  2. Kitty
    Sep 23, 2011 @ 11:54:57

    This is so beautiful, Sandy. Thank you. We all go through these changes, these paradigm shifts… sometimes small and sometimes huge, like this thing with your Dad. I am reminded of a saying from the very early days of my spiritual work… “And nothing will ever be as it ever was again.” And it never is. Moment to moment we slide and shift… sometimes gracefully, sometimes… not so much. This is when I have to remind myself that my best is good enough.


  3. pegoleg
    Sep 23, 2011 @ 12:29:42

    Sandy, does your dad know what’s going on?


    • Sandy Sue
      Sep 23, 2011 @ 22:23:13

      Sort of. He seems to think he should be functioning like a 40-year-old. Somehow, he can’t see cause and effect no matter how we explain it—that he’ll lose muscle mass and get weak if he only eats 500 calories a day and sleeps. Mom has always catered to him, so he thinks she should be able to continue doing that. But I can’t tell if it’s a form of dementia or if it’s deeply ingrained denial. Probably both.


  4. Sherry
    Sep 23, 2011 @ 17:13:19

    This posting is absolutely beautiful! I’m so proud to have you for my sister. Your support yesterday was wonderful and we made it through. The balance has shifted and there’s no bringing it back. Hang on for a tumultuous ride.


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