I've spent much of April lying down. That's not how I tend to operate anymore, especially in spring. Springtime is my favorite season, with autumn tying close behind.
Spring contains my favorite months for adventuring about on foot and bicycle, working on plays, finishing up teaching residencies, appearing at every creative event I can to show support and receive inspiration. I love the rain, the warming earth's indecisive temperatures, the foliage lighting up scents of every hue. Easily my most energetic season.
And April! When I come to life most, my birth month, when every arts company seems to show at least one event, usually several. This month started at the end of a relaxing and productive spring break, where limited teaching responsibilities allowed for much independent, industrious work. I planned to spend the rest of my spring charging forth in this way, as one class after another found its final day, and one workshop after another came and went. This would be the time for projects! Projects! Projects!
So far, it's been the time for healing. The first days of April found my first virus in over a year, some kind of cold, some kind of raging something that knocked me flat a couple days. I allowed for glorious rest, knowing that if I listened to my body at that moment, it would thank me later. The following week, as I thought I'd healed marvelously, my body disagreed and answered my return to a full teaching week with a beautiful case of laryngitis. Cringing hoarse sounds and exhaustion clammed me up for days in silence, rest, healing, with canceled appointments, workshop opportunities and teaching engagements falling like casualties to the side.
But then, after much quiet and sleep, my body started to find its exuberant energy and uplift again. Teaching felt easier, possible at least, with speaking no longer giving my voice a gruesome alien monster's growls. I found the spirit to get back on my bicycle, and to a yoga class or two. Also, I could celebrate with calm joy my pre-birthday weekend. And what a sweet time that was: a small gathering to watch bad movies and eat homemade curry, teaching a radiant storytelling workshop, dinner out, watching a play I love in full production, enjoying a bright Sunday at a nearby hot springs with my partner and spending the night out-of-town. That is a good-loving April time.
After our return and allowing myself one more easy day before returning to a full-time full-on fully productive schedule, for crying out loud, I taught one Monday afternoon theater class. Riding my bicycle home and admiring the warm tulip and white/pink blossom atmosphere, looking forward to some final birthday breeziness, I got hit by a car two blocks from my house. Smash -- on the pavement, spinning, stunned. Change of plans.
I was mostly okay -- the whole event turned out about as well as it could given the circumstances -- but I spent the rest of my birthday night in the E.R., and much of this following week in bed, very slowly healing, very slowly doing everything. I'm still in a lot of pain, but I mostly feel lucky and grateful. It could have been much, much worse.
Spending lots of time in bed this month reminds me of when I was 12, 13, 14 and spent several months sick with sinus infections, bronchitis, pneumonia and sprains. As an adult, this experience opens up many memories, wild spaces and a wandering mind within this waiting. Rest is a strangely creative, cultivating time for a writer. Photo by Bekah Russom.
Every part of this month has made me feel lucky and grateful that way, really. Getting sick makes me think of the people I know (and don't know) who can't escape illness, who fight it every day. Losing my voice makes me think of those people who are daily afraid to speak, or can't physically at all, who find every communication attempt excruciating. A bike-vs-car accident made me value my body and its every act of care, and think of the people I know and love who persist through chronic pain. My surviving a wreck with minor injuries helps me appreciate every life moment, especially when I hear about a younger friend's too-soon death the day before.
Oh what we have. Oh how short. Oh how fragile. And so I may not be as out-and-about as I'd like right now, I may not be as active or productive either as my body recovers and I do my best to listen with firm attention, but there is a lot for a writer in stillness. There is a lot for me in waiting, in rest, in listening to the underside of my consciousness, whether I can't speak or leaving the house is a difficult adventure. I've been feeling, reading, grieving, thinking, expressing, listening, strumming chords, reaching out, holding space, loving, recording experiences into words in raw and ripping ways. I've been asking for help. I've been forgiving myself. And considering again -- for what seems the billionth time of a quadrillion more to come -- how I want my life to be. And allowing that question to raise up more questions still.
So, thank you body, for being here and speaking to me, thank you dear ones near and far for your kindness and care, thank you life for sticking with me and all the harmonies of the universe for holding me up with your song, thank you writing, art and love for always being there, whether I am on the other side answering your call or not, and thank you bed for existing underneath me -- many humans don't have one of you to catch them when they need rest and recovery.
There is much in life to cry and sing about. Thank you, small listening moments, for revealing the enormity of everything in each minuscule breath.
Be well. Be safe out there. Be whatever you want to be, as long as it is kind.
Process notes on a work in progress. This page serves to invite you into the way I work, with intermittent posts to show you the hows and whys on the whats I make.