Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Here come those tears again

I've been singing Jackson Browne for a few days now:

Jim with school children
Here come those tears again
Just when I was getting over you
Just when I was gonna make it through another night
Without missing you
Thinking I just might be strong enough after all ....

Once again the Great White has emerged from the  depths and dragged me out of the boat.  I guess I was throwing out some bait by going through yet more boxes, seeing more slides, images, old journals with Jim's handwriting and his thoughts.  Crumpling on the floor, crawling to the bed and curling up into the fetal position.  Saturday I called it a "nap" ... yeah, right.

I found one journal that has all his notes from when he was covering the Maryknoll doctor in the Sudan.  The fears he was feeling, the excitement of this story, the exhilaration of the land.  "Dancing under the Toposa Moon" ... was the actual scrawlings written across the top of the notebook.  He described, in his pitch perfect way with his journalistic writing, how he heard voices and chanting and had to go see what was amiss in the night.  Susan, the American doctor who had been living and running a clinic there, refused to let Jim go alone.  She was far less naive about what lay in the bush or what the gathering of tribes people might be.  When they arrived there were men and women dancing around the fire, chanting, drumming and leaping into the air.  They smiled and allowed Susan and Jim to join the circle.  At one point a man asked Jim if he would like to try it,  He was escorted into the circle where, still holding hands with this man, they began to leap into the air together and dance wildly. Leaping with all those people that surrounded him, all laughing, dancing, chanting and African drumming, Jim wrote,"it was incredibly magical".

 Here come those tears again .....

What an amazing life that man had.  How that man affected others and how he traveled so fearlessly  with his eye ever watchful for that image to capture; a document of that fleeting moment in time. How could we ever know just how short that life would be?

This beast is a mighty one.  Always amazes me just how hard the thing will grab me, shake me, rattle my world and hangs on.  I shared with Dave what was going on.  In his wisdom he told me that I don't need to go through those boxes, we can just put them all in our friends dry, basement as is.  In another year or two it might be easier to open them back up and go through them; not now.  It's not necessary now.  He's right, of course.  I don't know why I felt I had to open them up ... Pandora's boxes in too many ways ... and try to wade through all that the cardboard keeps hidden.

And this damn beast doesn't let it just go in one day.  Oh no, there's more there to stir up. The beast didn't even recede into the depths after Saturday but remained at the surface with the fin ever present.

Sunday morning was beautiful and I couldn't get out of bed.  I couldn't bring myself to suit up for a ride or a run.  I sat in bed reading.  Dave came and suggested Ella might like a walk .... that helped.  I did walk my little gal down to the beach where she got me smiling at her old-lady-way of running and pouncing on her tennis ball.  I felt better.  On returning home Dave suggested we head to a small mountain just outside my old hometown, and take the half hour hike to the top.  The views are 360 degrees on these granite ledges overlooking the White Mountains, the twin towns of Norway/South Paris, and Sebago Lake in the far distance.  Truly gorgeous.  I felt better.

Just when I was gonna make it through ...

But that beast kept circling, kept calling me to the colder, darker waters.

Such an odd thing.  The Buddhist teachings I've read recently tell me that our brain acknowledges an emotion for only  90 seconds.  One and a half minutes.  And then we choose to hang onto it or to move on.  I WANT to move on!  But there is this eddy that I end up spinning in.  I truly feel helpless at times and have to just accept that this is where I'm at ... spinning ... and at some point the beast will spit me out and I'll be fine again.

I want to allow just a short visit there, just enough to acknowledge the pain, the tears .. but not to wallow.  But sometimes there is no other choice.  I have to go deep.  Only when I allow the beast to drag me down into that murky area do I get released.  And I never know quite how long this might last.

Dave on Streaked Mountain
I just hate dragging Dave down with me.  I'm not all that much fun to be around when the beast shows up.  I know this and wonder how the hell Dave can stand by me during these times.  But stand by me he does; taking me to the mountains and getting me outside on a gorgeous day, holding me while I cry... staying in the boat and throwing me a life ring.  I'm pretty grateful that he has decided to walk beside me through the rest of this life, even though I have this beast who comes around.

Thinking I just might be strong enough after all

Loving you all back,