coffee-stained clarity

My hair is frizzy, one of the telltale effects of hormones raging above baseline in pregnancy, and I find it everywhere: on my clothes, in the bristles of my honey colored brush, on the bed.

Outside it is gray and cold and drizzling. There is dirt on the floor. Around the lip of the clay pots that holds the assortment of plants, dust, thick enough to write my name.

Last night I was up, squirming around, uncomfortable most of the night. The sultriness of the day spills much into the nights. This morning it’s the same - uncomfortable, here in this thin skin, ready to cry.

Everything is always a risk. Loving. Trying to put down roots. Giving birth. Going out the front door. Getting on a plane to somewhere, and having it crash out in the ocean. Can you imagine? Waiting out there, with your terror, for death?

Of course I know nothing of terror, and yet. It’s scary here too some days. Here has its own kind of heartbreak: our financial situation sucks and it’s quite possible we could mess things up, have nothing, throw in the towel, go. To where? To what? Even when there are cyclamens, and stretching, and good poems there is always this. A shake up, a heartache, a fight, an empty bank account, a splinter under your fingernail, a bitten tongue.

And some days its hard to see that there is anything more than this: hormones and exhaustion and possible loss. Ostrich days, where all I want is to burry my head in deep and wait for moments that are better, sweeter, less filled with tears.

And then there was this: inside stretching, I picked up Paulo Coelho’s newest “the winner stands alone”, and a box of Moroccan Rose. Reading, and felt as though I was breaking off chunks of bread to feed my hungry soul, sunlight on the floor, my muscles limber in repose. I looked up to see the lush pink of the cyclamens on the windowsill blooming, and things stopped for an instant. I was just there, air in my lungs, the fuchsia petals on the sill glowing with afternoon light.

And suddenly I was full. That single slender moment, utterly perfect. Whole.

And in the end, this is what I live for: to find myself again and again in these moments, to locate myself here. While today rain pelts down, and the green leaves of the sassafras trees whip about, and the stock market dips and rises and does unpredictable things and nothing is ever secure, yesterday there was that.

Yesterday there were those few breaths on the floor, words humming in my heart, my spine bending towards my knees, my slender wrists resting on the bones of my ankles, reaching, stretching. Those few moments before everything picked up and carried on: roti and potatoes for dinner, laundry, packing, reading stories, conversations with the un-born.

What is this life for, if not to live in it moment by moment? What is success, if not to experience sometimes and again irrefutable joy in this right now? And to hold that joy with the same hands that rinse the dirty dishes the sink; the same hands that write and love; the same ones that carried the little ones to the loo in the dark, and the ones that supported friends and family and also the ones which threw things in blind rage; the hands that cupped my own face streaming with tears, tiredness eating the marrow of my bones.

What is success, if not this, this hunger to be alive right now? To be here, loving, dreaming, running hard down the road?


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