December 23rd, 2008


I can't quite go to bed

...because I wanted to say something about mindfulness.

I used to be so observant of the world. I think it was a kind of mindfulness, to be so very aware of everything around me. The nuanced beauty of the way the light hit the branches of a tree or the scent of honeysuckle or... Now I'm always so busy, and have been for ten, fifteen years. But it's slowly coming back to me.

I find myself moving more deliberately. Stopping to notice the way streetlamps cast umbrellas of pouring light down on the parking lot in the fog. Stopping to watch the sparkles of the ice on my car. There are more pauses lately. I'm not as enamored of the world as I was when I was fifteen, and I'm not as impressed by temporary beauty. I don't feel things as strongly as I did then; there just aren't the hormones racing through my body like there were then, and I'm not fighting so strongly for an identity. I kind of hope pregnancy is as fraught as its promised to be, because I miss that. Just for a little while, I want to be so in love with the world I can't think straight anymore. (ETA: NOT PREGNANT.)

I used to think, before puberty, that maybe I didn't feel emotions properly. I so rarely got upset about things. I think that was combination of many factors--and perhaps I didn't feel emotions properly. It's not like childhood was easy for me. But is it easy for anyone? My familial culture, which is a distillation of Prussian, Swiss and Dutch attitudes run through the immigrant-farmer wringer, is that we become more calm and determined in the face of adversity. I've spent a lot of time being calm.

But puberty hit, and even as calm as I was, I wrote these journals full of raptures about the roses or pansies or catmint I saw on the walk home from the bus-stop, or the noise of the frogs on the pond or in the trees, or the quality of the starlight outside my window. I still notice these things, and I'm noticing them more, but I don't feel them like I did.

It's different because none of it is for the first time, anymore; and these temporary beauties, fleeting as they are, are things I know will come again. It's hard to go home and write pages about them.

But still, I'm noticing things more again. I'm trying not to constantly hate winter, for example; I'm trying to notice the temperature variation between 7 degrees and 22, and notice the way it feels when ice chunks plop onto my face versus snow bullets spraying into my eyes... And not think so much about the drive, and how much I hate it.

Hm. No moral lesson here. That's just what's going on.