There has been an extraordinary amount of craziness in my schedule of late, in part because I have wittingly taken too much on this year (hey, opportunity knocked and I crazily listened; what can I say?) and in part because occasionally I have three-day migraines that grind me to an absolute, sudden halt and all the stuff I should do piles up behind me like an eighty-car pile-up on a foggy freeway, the aftermath of which requires lengthy, laborious sorting.To elucidate, after being derailed by a migraine early last week, I have baked no cookies since the last time I posted here, and while I have knit a little, I have finished nothing, and have only been able to knit when sitting in classes during which it would have been rude to pull out a computer and write a seventeen-page paper for a wholly different class. And yes, I assume it was not rude to knit. I may be wrong on that front. I do know it is rude to hand in a paper three days past deadline, but Monday that is exactly what I did. Could not be helped, but feels inexcusable regardless. I also had to let a few work-related tasks slide for far too long, and have paid for that with sleeplessness by night and frantic spurts of activity by day.
Today, however. Today I am heading to a monastery on the Hudson for retreat, a retreat that feels a bit like welcome respite and a bit like full-on surrender. I have packed a little homework (not much) and the tiniest work assignment (nothing major) and the afghan for knitting whilst praying. I will not be home until Friday evening. I am going to the river, and I hope to come home a better person. Or at least a better rested person. A person ready and able to finish figuring the tax return. Sleep would be a very good thing.
I leave you with this Wendell Berry poem that I have long had tucked in a prayer book:
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
And so may it be.