Getting to the Clearing

I woke up this morning in a thicket.

A night of worrying about one person and then another, and feeling deep grief for yet another, turning from one side to the other, looking out our big bedroom window at the light in the living room of the house across the street. They never turn it off.

The tags on my dog’s collar jingled in the dark when he got up to rearrange himself on his big blue bed that I mended last night, sewing up gnawed patches with double thread, knotted at the end like my mother taught me. I hadn’t sewn anything for years and I like it, the wholesomeness of it, the mending.

I went for a long walk before breakfast, dressed like a homely woman who didn’t care and felt myself almost shuffling, the branches from the morning’s thicket slowing me down, my healthy striding self yesterday’s news.

My dog didn’t care and for that I was grateful. A young man working with a roofing crew on a house down the block smiled at me and I thought for a minute, what does he see? How do I seem to people outside? I only see the inside where it is tangled and bushy and tiresome.

I worked hard on a grant proposal for a client and though I’ve written hundreds of proposals and am pretty good at it I started to worry that I’d completely missed the mark, that I’d missed some essential detail that would have redefined the entire direction of the proposal – like I was writing it for cats and it was really for dogs. But then I read it through and it was good, detailed, factual, even compelling. So I started to feel better.

Then my granddaughter came after school, wearing a baseball cap over her now deep blue hair. She wore a sweatshirt with big embroidered roses on the hood which was a new look for her since she eschews decorations of any kind although today she told me that she’s always liked roses. I never knew. I made her a grilled cheese sandwich which she ate and then she fell asleep.

I made soup out of yesterday’s leftover roast chicken but I let the soup go too long and too hard while I was upstairs writing and it boiled away to nearly nothing. So I made a white sauce for a chicken noodle casserole that was probably as close to a work of art as I will ever produce. And the day felt redeemed then, not because of the casserole but because of the white sauce which, I always say, if you can make a decent white sauce, you can always make something out of nothing.

4 Comments on “Getting to the Clearing

  1. I love your writing, Jan. You’re hitting all the right understated notes here. My fave: “I thought for a minute, what does he see? How do I seem to people outside? I only see the inside where it is tangled and bushy and tiresome.”

    Liked by 1 person

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