Because of forest fires (every year, every summer) smoke fills the air and its presence alters everything. Bicycling, running, walking, talking, and otherwise healthy activities become a twinge yucky and questionable. Throats are sore. Asthmatics wear masks. Contact wearers (me) squint and sport red, drippy eyes. Though it is warm outside, windows remain shut — keeping the smokey air from creeping in. The horizon which is usually beautiful with its mountains, looks more like Wisconsin than Montana. A sea of seeming flatlands and gray, humid skies have replaced the mountain view. The sunset is strange and murky — dirty like a typical day in L.A. At night the moon is the color of a blood orange and when morning comes, I confuse the sun with the moon, because it, too, is orange. I suppose it is a bad idea to look at it… Smoke has obscured everything.
We’ve been breathing in this smoke-filled valley for a month or more now. I checked the Weather Channel website and nope, seven days out and still no rain in the forecast. Some say the fires won’t be out until snow falls. That could be two months or more of waking up to this dirty cloud and worse, feeling the fog internally as well. I cannot say for sure that it is the smoke causing me to feel so down, so tired, so like giving up, but it could be. Maybe.
I am not the only one complaining about feeling sluggish and lethargic. My theory? As beekeepers use a smoker device on the bees to calm them, therefore making it easier to harvest the honey, we too, feel numb, droopy and unable to fight our individual and necessary daily struggle.
Other than that — what is it? What causes my listless, yet restless feeling? I just can’t seem to pull myself out of it.
It couldn’t be the seven-year mark approaching of when my husband left us to make his way forward, to a better future for himself, for us. It couldn’t be that my oldest daughter is gone, in her third year of college and clearly — gone and moved on. I think of her: It is good. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Good for her. Don’t stop. But I miss her. I miss the fun and excitement she brought into the house. Always something to look forward to, but now… I wake and forget what it was I wanted to do the night before: Write. Write ten pages. Push the story forward. Do it. Fight the urge to quit. Or could it be the exhaustion from fighting for my son (with autism), the same endless, year-after-year fight with the school, with him, with his homework or lack of it, with the world of disabilities, the warehousing, and the isolation we all feel as a result of it. It could be that I need a job, but can’t take a job, but need a job, but… caught in another loop. I have enough hope to sustain me, thinking I could write my way out of this mess, if — I just would do IT. Write and write until I’ve found my way, but like Alice in Wonderland, I wander through a perverse maze of distractions that lead to nowhere. Could my spirit feel so drained simply because each time I look in the mirror, I see nothing that makes me want to smile? I see nothing that gives me hope. I feel shallow. I feel that I have no new thoughts, nothing, or is it the other way around? That if I were looking truly forward to something hopeful, inspirational — would I then see a reflection of beauty? Or if not beauty — at least a genuine smile?
I have my kids here. My three little ones — growing so fast that I can barely stand it. I worry about being enough for them. I worry that I’m distorting their view of life in all the wrong ways. They need their dad – They need him. What can I do to be more? What can I do to be enough? I want my family back, in tact and whole again — and the thought that stops me and causes me to stumble within my daydreams is this: by the time we’ve figured it out — they’ll all be gone and here I will be. Just me. I did all I could not to be alone — and funny, but that’s just not the way it’s gone. It is me and whatever tool I have within reach that I can write with, be it a pencil, a pen, paper, typewriter or this current machine.
Writing. Writing. Writing. Here I am typing words but they mean nothing to no one, not even me. My story (my script), my in the weeds story … has lost its way, much like myself. I am not sure the why of that either.
I am tired. I refuse to think of it as depression.
I blame the smoke.