As spring warms the hemisphere, people paralyzed by winter’s dark and cold now ease into movement, including depressed people. Bleak inner life and the newly pulsating rainbow of plants outside form a sour contrast, and the more vibrant flow of blood gives some the strength to act: suicides peak in May and June.
This spring I found a note by the river. The water rushed and rose up its sandy edge, full of demanding energy, and I could not walk past without stopping to bask. The paper was folded in quarters and slipped between the boards of a park bench where homeless people sleep when it is snowing, swaddled in thin sleeping bags.
A little release, a little shout, poem, question, inelegant, referential, young, assertive, testing. Yet assuming a friend.
I went home and listened to the song it spoke of: the Smiths’ “Sing me to sleep.” Pictured hundreds of solitary teenagers in American bedrooms cultivating a self-image of moody misery, Morrissey intoning on repeat, a copy of The Perks of Being a Wallflower on the floor. Some are serious, some sorta, some not. So which is she?
Lately I’m aspiring to become, like a famous pilgrim, “unstuck in time.” (Vonnegut, another literary reference– though what was hers? I couldn’t find it…) I’m more tender, awake, slow, open, and loving when I shake off time and control for even a short while. That kind of shedding has much to do with death, the death of the little self. A friend died snorkeling amid a symphony of colored fish off the coast of Hawai’i last week; rest in peace, Ed. Another fell from a roof in California while installing solar panels; peace be with you, Hans. Contemplating these deaths makes such a practice even more welcomed and needed.
Dear Friend, nobody else has to go for us to become awake together. Easier said than done… but it can be done.