Since I began this blog, I have posted something nearly every day, with few exceptions. Last week, I didn’t Write a thing. Why? Not because something was wrong, but because a lot of thing were really, really right. I was busy, as Rudyard Kipling says in If, filling up life with living.
I went Apple picking with my daughter on a crisp, sunny morning, shoving Cortlands into our bag and ambling around the gravel pathways between the fields. I spent that afternoon, with my little one and her rosy cheeks tucked into bed for a cozy nap, baking a pie with the apples we picked, happily scattering flour around my kitchen counter, drinking sparkling cider as I worked.
I finally bought a proper pot for a fledgling calla lily that had sat on our kitchen table for months, replanting it and watering it its new ceramic home, a cream pot with bright yellow chevrons. I also purchased cushions for the big grey sectional in our family room, choosing rich hues of burnt orange, olive green and taupe to offset the grey and add pops of color against our buttery yellow walls.
I replaced air fresheners that had long gone stale, and organized eighteen months worth of digital photos, labelling them by month. I made a special trip out to Bed Bath & Beyond to buy a storage container especially made for pies, so I no longer have to deal with tin foil and drying crusts. I picked up the bridesmaid’s dress I will wear at my brother’s wedding in a few weeks’ time, lingering in it for a few minutes, revelling in the satin and chiffon, loving the long, simple drape and the Grecian feel of the garment.
This past Friday I attended a lecture in a neighboring city about the impact of digitization on society, and became so interested in the subject matter that I took notes, somewhat ironically, on my phone. Afterward, I sat in a funky restaurant with bright red walls and Mexican décor, eating garden salad and drinking tea as a fall rain fell softly onto the empty patio.
None of these things are inherently remarkable, but it has been so long since I’ve done any of them that it seemed somehow as if they were. Life narrows slowly when you are struggling with mental illness or addiction, almost imperceptibly so, and it is only, when it widens once again, that you realize just how small the world had become.
If there can be any gift from the darkness, it is the new eyes with which you see the light. Normalcy is not banality, but stability, solid ground from which you can spring forth into new adventures, unexpected possibilities. Not so long ago, as night fell, I stumbled up the stairs full of alcohol and fuller still of shame and regret. Now, as night falls, I can wait peacefully for sleep to come, glad for another day full only of ordinary living, expecting another day full of the same, and therefore, full of miracles.