Act One: “The Deep Dark.”
Ten days until Solstice. The sun will “rise” today here in the ‘banks at roughly 10:46 AM. It will creep hesitantly from the east briefly showing itself from behind the mountains then swiftly retreat into the west at 2:43 PM. 3 hours 56 minutes 24 seconds. “High Noon” occurs at 12:44 PM with a grand altitude of 2.4 degrees above the horizon. Ten days until Solstice…
We are in the deep dark of winter and no mistake. But there you have it. I recently went back and read through my previous two posts and realized that they are –somewhat fittingly- like night and day. So here I am a week later and am somewhat uncertain what to write. The past couple of weeks have been a bit rough and I am further forced to admit that the winter here does have an effect on me. I have ignored it for years, but have never really been able to avoid it. Tend to suffer from mood swings, but then I think I always have. Hell I had a radio show in Talkeetna called “Mood Swings”… and now that I think about it that was the right attitude. Celebrate it, or at the very least acknowledge it, don’t ignore it.
So this past week I really have -in a sense- been pretending to wear Gollum’s ring. Walking with my head down, closing my office door, talking as little as possible to most people, hiding from the world. But then when I did try to open up too much came rushing out and it made little to no sense. Then yesterday I read some shtuff about introverts. One of the qualities they listed as being characteristically introverted is taking small breaks away from crowds…in the bathroom. I guess I can relate, but I tend to behave in a different way; that is hiding in plain sight. See, one of the other qualities was the idea that introverts tend to have a running cacophony going on in their heads most of the time and the justification for hiding in the bathroom was to shut out all of the external input so as to avoid overload. I took a trip to the local coffee shop at lunchtime, into the heart of a crowd.
I had been hiding in my office, in myself and sometimes that is when the cacophony is loudest. It is like having a song –or rather a series of songs- stuck in your head. The way I deal with that best is to seek out and listen to the song… then it goes away. Locked in my own head, hiding in my office meant the thoughts kept getting louder and more convoluted. So I went to the coffee shop, sat in the corner and watched and listened as the crowd went about its business. I immersed myself in an actual cacophony to subdue my own internal version. Then I came back to my office and listed to three Radiohead albums, consecutively.
Depression is a specter that creeps around in the dark but you have to face it. I have had to accept that I struggle with this sometimes… it is the driver of my mood swings. Last year sometime my ex introduced me to this great blog http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/ . It has some of the craziest funniest artwork and some of the stories that she has posted over the years are side splittingly funny. My favorite is easily this one http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2011/04/wild-animal-simple-dog-goes-for-joy.html . I thoroughly enjoyed reading through and following her blog but there have been no new posts after October 2011, which is when she posted a heartfelt and very personal entry about depression. One cannot help but worry, despite that I have never met the author.
I could not let my last post be my last. Not that I had any intention, but I have not felt like writing, or perhaps more accurately I was reluctant to write about all of this. The last time I considered writing anything was several days ago and was fueled by this cartoon…
I love Richard Gorey’s work. The subtle macabre humor gets me every time, but I did not want to write about feeling like I was poor Neville, dying of ennui. So I did not write. Last night my girlfriend noted that my blog had been silent and suggested that I do something about that. I agreed but tried to make some lame excuses about not knowing what to write or about not wanting to dwell on negativity. She suggested I write something happy, regardless. I am not sure if it is working, but I will say that the writing feels damn good.
Act Two: “One More Cup of Coffee.”
I really like coffee. Correction, I really like good coffee. I have a statement posted above my little office coffee station that I got from the local coffee shop I mentioned earlier. They have a wee chalkboard on the wall below their menu boards on which they write things… this one states “There is no problem so great or so grave that cannot be diminished by a nice cup of coffee.” I have no idea who it is attributed to. Does not really matter, I am inclined to agree. But the operative word there is “nice”. It cannot just be any old cup of coffee, it has to be the experience attached to a “nice” cup of coffee.
I have been drinking a fair bit more coffee this past week than normal…perhaps on the order of 50% more. Which for me really is not THAT much, but that “one more cup” never seemed to be quite as satisfying as I hoped. Going to the coffee shop yesterday worked though. That however was about more than just the coffee itself. It was about the environment. It was about sitting in the corner holding the warm ceramic, watching the steam waft from the brew creating a thin veil between me and the rest of the world, sitting idly while the people hustled and bustled and talked on their cell phones made important appointments typed on their laptops read the paper met with friends or colleagues. Conversely, that “one more cup” taken in my office of an afternoon is often bitter and just makes me jittery but no more alert or effective. Then I get home a couple of hours later antsy and dissatisfied and reach for a beer to combat the effects. Stupid.
So today I write. I write at the encouragement of one whom I love and one whom I am so privileged to have connected with. I write about darkness and depression, about darkness and light. I write about the journey down into Solstice and the climb back out again, (the actual and the symbolic) about taking off Gollum’s ring and joining the world once again. After all, the road goes ever on and on and you never know where you may be swept off to.