Finding Flo...

All week you anticipate a hurricane but today it is simply the storm that wasn’t. Or, rather the storm that was somewhere else. There is a vague sense of guilt surrounding your relief. Knowing disaster is unfolding somewhere else, to other people and homes and lives. How can we ever truly be glad when the storm passes if it still exists elsewhere? All week you tell your students to keep their pens and pencils moving during journal writes. Don’t stop! Even if you have to write nonsense in order to keep going! You suggest a kind of urgency must spring from their words, but is it true? You are amazed at how many of them want it regardless, how easily most of them bow their heads and move their hands in this continuous rhythm. You write with them too. You told yourself you’d write every single day with them, which is already a failure but one you can reinvent. When you look up and scan the room occasionally you notice the ones that have in fact stopped. The one or two bodies that resist this altogether, or stop to edit even though you warned them not to, the ones that gaze listlessly—you wonder how vain you are to think that all of them must do anything at all. All week you eat too many carbs and not enough coffee and you fight a cold. You bear nearly unbearable pain in your jaw and face and you persistently wonder where it comes from in your body, your mind. You understand it’s all connected which is both helpful and not. At the dentist’s office the doctor asks you if you’ve had any stressful events in your life recently and you say a new job, but think to yourself how you like this job, maybe even love it, and you wonder too why even good things can be stressful. You wonder if you don’t know how to not feel stress. No matter how much you’ve learned about how to shift it out of the body, the mind. It feels like it’s been held in your body for so long that it has become home. You wonder if it isn’t a little like waiting for a storm that never comes. Always holding, anticipating, expecting the worst. Not trusting. Yes that’s it. Not joy. Not really living at all. You wonder if that scenario isn’t a little grim, and so you task yourself with cultivating a new scenario. Isn’t all of it a series of storms passing? You hesitate to push the analogy too far, but you still wonder. You wonder. You watch the branches and the leaves all day to see how much they tremble, how violent they might become. You absorb the gray skies, the damp ground. You embody the weather. Raging, faltering, wondering, changing course, holding fast.