I’m sitting on the living room sofa, sinking beyond its 11-year lifetime with us. The kids are bathed but not in bed.
Less than an hour ago, the kids and I came home from a track by the house. It’s a simple track, not intimidating, enough trees and breeze to drift off some stress. I’ve enjoyed running there so much that each time I load the kids in the car to get there, I nearly forget the constant bickering that scratches at our experience. The kids bike, fall, argue, play, make up, roll, skin, laugh, stall, and bicker. There’s a lot of this lately–gratifying mixed with grating. I’ll breathe, then pause and appreciate, deal with some crisis, and then try again to get into the zone.None of this buoyancy is uncommon to any parents I know; I suppose it’s all relative.
I think I’ve noticed a pattern with me. When I’m overwhelmed in one area of my life, I work exceptionally hard and practically invent minutia to do (I did the paperwork to set up annual memberships not due until August instead of grading 70 research papers clumped on my desk), but my physical exhaustion does not shut down my wandering, amorous mind.
My mind amps up and gets dreamy, almost tortuously so. I try to find a match for the longing in a book, show, or good conversation. I’m trying to spill out the angst on other forms of writing late at night so I can do something productive with this feeling, a recognizable restlessness mixed with a surprising ennui given the time of year and a busy calendar.
I read an article today called “Its Raining All Over the Universe” where Adam Frank, an astrophysics professor and author, talks about waking up one morning to the sound of rain. He is “suddenly struck by the realization that Earth is not the only world that knows rain. There is rain falling in many other places in the cosmos…Venus, Titan, Saturn…And all these rains matter.”
Frank concludes that “across the galaxy, on countless worlds, there will be rain. It will fall across as many windswept plains as you can imagine.” Frank says the rains matter; they help show us that despite our notion of conflicts, we “don’t really understand what is happening to us at all…we are part of something much larger than ourselves, and our ideas about ourselves.”
Initially, I wanted to read this article because it was about the solar system, a system I feel belongs to my best friend Andrea since she’s been obsessed with the moon’s world as long as I can remember. I’m sharing it here because Frank sees something like rain and uses it as a unifying element, one that can flay our vision of ourselves and recognize something bigger.
I’ve been occupied in my own head space even if I’m physically moving and reacting and doing; I have been retreating above the neck as a cozy yet squirming defense.
I like being inspired to see beyond that.
I haven’t turned on any lights since we came home. The green outside has befriended the windows and given it less work to do, but there is a pale glow coming through, silencing the room in this moment. I’m going to go sit outside and look up, and then I’m going to release some of the build up of thoughts to the sky above and let its truth advise the rest of my evening.