08 January 2012

Back in the Saddle

 My daughter was going to a swim meet today.  Swim meets begin at God-awful times so I found myself awake in a quiet house with a little time on my hands.  Perfect time to write.

I sat down to read my favorite book about writing, the one that has an assignment after each chapter.  Where was that book?  Oh yeah, squirreled away in an old armoire in a pre-holiday cleaning blitz.  Now to find my glasses.  Darn!  Where have all the pens gone?  Probably another casualty of tidying the house.  Do you see a pattern here?

At this point, my mind wanders.  Well, maybe I should do something else.  Any excuse to avoid putting pen to paper.  Okay...I'll blog instead.  But blogging means running the gauntlet of distractions like e-mail and Facebook.  It was close but I avoided them both and here I am, pounded away on the keys.

It is already a daunting task, staring at a blank screen, the cursor expectantly blinking.  Over the holidays, the tiniest seed of a thought that would linger in my mind.  It would make a great subject but the thought of fully forming it stops me in my tracks.  Other times, a grand idea would sweep over me but the thought of taking a big thought and narrowing it into a blog would wear me out even before I started.

Then there is RHYTHM.  This morning when I was stopped at every turn by a new (albeit minor) hurdle- glasses, pens, book...I realized how hard it is to get back into a rhythm.  That's what the holidays do.  They interrupt our daily rhythm.  It is always a welcome break.  Day after day with no distractions get monotonous.  As a matter of fact, during Christmas the break last so long the holidays take on a rhythm of their own.  Imposed discipline from being forced to follow a schedule slips away.  Normal cycles of eating, sleeping and working all blur like the horizon when it is cloaked in fog.  I have been trying to claw my way out since January 2nd.  I always find transitions difficult.  It seems every summer I blog about struggling at the beginning.  That struggle is in letting the rhythm of the school year give way to the very different cadence of the summer.

So here I am, caught between two rhythms.  When I am thinking and writing about a subject, I love to look up quotes about it.  I read many quotes about rhythm this quiet Sunday morning.  It was frustrating because I couldn't find one that encapsulated what I was trying to express.  I think God has planted a natural rhythm deep within our being.  It is so primal, it is almost hard to separate ourselves from it and find a way to express it in words.   The best I could find was this:

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.
Thomas Merton

The holidays are a time of intense pleasure and temporal happiness.  Restoring the balance and order of daily life can be a challenge...

Especially when living in New Orleans with football and Mardi Gras threatening to sweep everyone into another rhythm altogether.

Oh well.  Guess I should just celebrate the fact that being being in or out of rhythm as well as the transitions does one thing...


It's the start of the Carnival season.  Better go find my tap shoes.

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