“Just” the Sun

“What’s going on?” She sat up in bed and stared at the light hitting her bedroom window. Her radar was tuned to inner city streets, police searches and helicopters. “Huh?” But the dogs weren’t barking and the street was quiet. Shrugging, she snuggled back under the duvet and tried to go back to sleep, but something was really wrong. Waves of anxiety washed against her mind’s beach and receded as her consciousness labeled their absurdity. “No. Your mother’s ghost did NOT push you down in Colorado Springs. The city ISN’T haunted.”

“Could be,” answered her mind. “I’m not going back there. Every time I go up there, something happens. Torn Achilles tendon. Other stuff. Not fun.”

“Be that as it may,” began her mind in the voice of her Aunt Martha, “your mother’s ghost didn’t push you.”

“OK.” She began to wonder if her Super Ego wasn’t, maybe, her Aunt Martha. “Seems likely,” she thought. “Talk about ghosts.” She snuggled further down into the duvet. “That’s the sun,” she realized. “Not a police car. It’s morning. Another fucking morning.”

“That’s a good thing,” muttered her Super Ego. “Think of all the things you might do!”

She checked her shoulder to see how things were going in that area. Better. Whatever had sent it back into excruciating pain a week ago seemed to have receded like her mother’s ghost. Her foot? She wiggled her toes. Could be worse. She’d done a number on it on a walk with her dog a few days earlier. “I refuse even to THINK that cliché about growing old not being for sissies. No, no, no. Not thinking that. At least there’s a painting.” She thought for a few minutes about the last couple of years and all she had lost, all the world had lost. Millions of people. Five million people. “That’s almost twice the population of Denver,” she thought. “Two empty Denvers.” She thought of all the grieving people, that plus all the “ordinary” reasons to grieve. “So much has changed. Even the business of relating to people has changed. I think I’m tired of it.”

“Who wouldn’t be?” asked Aunt Martha in her head. “What took you so long!”

“You should know the answer to that,” she thought, remembering that woman, her circle of lady friends and the majority of her time alone, tending her garden and savoring solitude and freedom. “Maybe it didn’t change my life all that much.” She decided to get up. The day ahead of her might not be the best day of her life, but it was the one she had.

“None of us gets out of here alive,” her own mother’s voice echoed in her mind.

“No, mom, none of us do, but…” Her mom had found a way out, a creative and somewhat humorous way out, but still…

Later on that day, posting a photo of her new painting on Facebook, she saw her 95 year old amazing, inspiring friend Lilliana had posted a meme. She laughed.

Lilliana. God, what she’d lived through, the amazing, the beautiful, the terrifying, the harrowing, the fantastic. “SOME of us are better at life than others. Some of us keep wanting it. All the things you hated? ‘Art’s a dirty word in this house!’ Well, mom, you just didn’t know how good it is or how important, or how much a part of happiness it is for me.” She cleaned her brushes ahead of a new day that might be better.

18 thoughts on ““Just” the Sun

  1. haha! Oh, Martha–I like these important facts. “Well, at least I have my health.” Yup. Dying of nothing. Gotta love it. Jack Lalanne just rolled over…

  2. This is a beautiful post, Martha. There’s a lot of wisdom. And the 95 year old and the meme was perfect. I hit a wall, business speaking, with anxiety in people around me. It’s cold, rainy, and I’ll go see my special men this afternoon. And I’m writing about ghosts. 💛🤗❤️🐶

  3. “She” seems somehow vaguely familiar…People often complain to me about getting old. I ask them if they think it beats the alternative. Most of them shut up. My daughter used to ask me if she were going to die. I said “yes”. I expanded upon that, but I thought it was important that she understand your (I mean “her own”) mother was right.

    • Funny she seemed familiar to me, too. Hmmmm…. My mother was factually correct but it wasn’t news to me. I’d already lost my dad. 🙂

      I really like rocks and learning about them. I wish it were possible in a painting to get the real texture of this stuff in Penitente Canyon. I couldn’t even get the color right. They are not that bright, but that’s the subjective aspect to a painting that makes it different from a photo. I think I actually SEE them like that because I like them so much and I like the raw earth those colors come from so much.

  4. I enjoyed this immensely. Those voices in our heads…Whew…they can take over. I wake up like that with dialogues and monologues and such. The bed is difficult to get out of many days, but then I do. Something about early morning when the mind roams free or something like that. That meme is perfect. 95 years old. Wow. I’d love to sit and talk with her. So much perspective and so many stories!

    • I’ll be glad for the time change when, for a while, I’ll be up “earlier” (though the same time…). Those early morning voices in my head frighten me because anxiety and depression go together for me. But then thinking THAT increases the anxiety, so not going there. 🙂

      It took a while for the comparative isolation caused by Covid to hit me, and I’m glad for that. I’m just struggling with a kind of “never, never land” feeling when I’m around people I know. Last year it was SO occasional and so limited, and the necessity to get used to that was real. Now? I wonder if a lot of us don’t feel we have one foot in and one foot out. What a weird world we’re living in, though I guess it has been weirder.

      • They are an anxious way to start the day, which makes it (already) exhausting.
        Yes, it still feels surreal much of the time – an alternate reality on many levels. It feels like people are just different or maybe it’s just me. A daily struggle.

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