The Lull Before the Storm

There is a lull before the storm, felt in the quiet, slightly damp, not too cool air of the early morning.  It warmed up this week, and it was good to have a break from keeping a fire built.  This morning, the light from the waning moon adds to the sense of stillness.  There are sounds of insects dimly coming through, dimly, because I have a piece of garlic wrapped in tissue stuffed into my right ear.  It is my “off-grid” attempt to appease the pain in my ear and head.

There are, unbelievably, some negative aspects about living “off-grid.”  At least, in my case, I am fully aware of them, the main one being that you can never get away from yourself or your environment unless you are free to go to sleep.  It seemed so idyllic, the idea of living “on the land,” with “friends you love and who love you.”  This was my dream, back in my thirties.  This morning, as I came up out of sleep and my dreams, I was all too cognizant of how sad I can be, living here.  This is, mind you, in spite of knowing I have shelter, food, and clothing.  Today, or any day, I cannot mention being the slightest bit unhappy with life, for the response is, “Well, at least you are not in New Jersey or New York!  At least you have a place to sleep!”  True, but that knowledge does not dispel the awareness of the contradiction of my own life and survival.

For many years, I focused on “growing” spiritually.  I read many books, and I read into every relationship, somehow finding meaning in it all.  If another shared anything personal with me, I valued this, saw it as genuine expression of love.  Of course, everyone operates out of his or her own unique way of seeing life, and though I may have given too much meaning to my “relationships,” this does not mean this is how someone else might view any exchange.  For some, sharing information is just that, with nothing of importance in the way of interpretation attached.  In my little reality, it is all intertwined, everything, and nothing is separate.  It is like the way everything turns to ice in Kurt Vonnegut’s book, Cat’s Cradle, although I cannot remember how this happens.  I read the book when I was nineteen or twenty; now forty-five years have gone by.  Nonetheless, today I believe that my take on how nothing is separate is valid, and I am sure Kurt Vonnegut died believing his perceptions were not too far off.

Therefore, last weekend, when the storm headed towards the east coast, and I thought of the people who might not have any way to avoid it, I found it impossible to sleep.  I tried to go to sleep, but eventually got up and stayed up several more hours.  I got maybe three hours sleep that night, and had to go to work the next morning.  I survived.  However, as the news and images started coming in, I watched online, for too many hours, unable to stop thinking about the situation there, the millions of lives all touched by this storm.  I spiraled downward, feeling useless.  I wished I could offer someone shelter, assistance, and realized how inadequate I would be, taking in anyone, as I have become set in my ways and would drive another crazy with my own shortcomings.

Yet, I came to live here so that I might experience a life shared with others.  It is ironic to me that twenty years have gone by and I share my life less and less with anybody.  Writing thus is my last attempt at sharing.  It is my last gasp at “dreaming” life in this dimension.  I live on eighty acres that are not mine, in a cabin I built (or rather, added on to) that also is not mine, and am surrounded by forest and animals, with a neighbor down the road who is basically the one who has final say about all of it, as he set it up as it is.  It is times like now that I wish this place had been a “success.”  We could have been ready to help those in need of assistance, but no, we actually are not.  Two people live here, who are sometimes in alignment, but most of the time avoid each other.  The foundational idea for this place was good, just not lived by each person as honestly and fearlessly as each might have.  So today, when I wake up with a storm brewing outside, I hear the storm within still present, wanting to surge outward and spill onto everything. I know I just need to “change my thoughts,” but that is like putting a band-aid on life.  As I experience my own contradictions, I see that everyone else in this world must also be experiencing some conflict of their own.  Maybe we are affecting each other in ways we are not aware.  I just know that I live in a beautiful place and I am miserable much of the time.  I am growing paranoid, antisocial, and not believing anything anyone says.  I have not been feeling a lot of gratitude lately, but mostly frustration.  I want to look outside myself and blame another but I know that is not correct.  Although I do wish some would take responsibility for their own hypocrisy and lies.  I am a member of a dysfunctional family on this planet and I would like to see ALL the CARDS laid out on the table so that all can see from whence each of us comes.  However, this will not happen.  Alternatively, maybe it will.  I just know that I have to get a handle on my own negativity or I will not make it, and at this point, I ask, does that matter?  It matters only when I think of my dog, who would miss me and be confused, if I were no longer here.

The day has passed.  I went to work with garlic stuck in my ear, and I made it through the day without wincing in pain.  I heard on the news that New York is working on getting back on track, but the damage and loss is disconcerting.  Those who are caught in the midst of it are facing challenges they never imagined they would ever encounter.  My heart goes out to them all.  My own inner storms are still with me, but the ones going on in the world elsewhere are just as intense, if not more so.  I am less frustrated with life at this moment, and am aware that everything can change in a flash.  My hope is that this current of life and energy of which we are all a part will somehow even out somewhere along the line, and our human family can find some balance, harmony, and peace, on the grid or off the grid.

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