Yesterday there was snow. Heavy wet snow that weighed down tree boughs, and flattened our lilac bush. It lay spread-eagled in the backyard, not looking at all like it would survive the assault. And one branch of it will not. This morning the snow is gone from it but one limb remains on the ground. It is an old lilac and has been looking tatty since before we moved here and acquired it, the enormous Norway maple out front, an ancient dogwood, and this house. This spring may be its last. Depending on how and whether it recovers from this weather event, we may decide to dig it up and rethink that bit of our little landscape. Lilacs are flexible; bendy and forgiving of stress, but this one has seen better days.
When I awoke to this sight after the weekend we had here, I recognized myself in the lilac’s plight, splayed out and weighted down by wet snow and ice. I have moaned on before about the amount of stuff I need to do, and I am indulging myself again, wondering aloud how I got myself into this when the answer is in the question. I did it.
I am pulled in four directions. There is my so-called-job which demands so much of my energy and with which I struggle through various threats to my equanimity. There is my diaconate study which sometimes feels pointless, wasteful of time and money, and as though it will never end — at least not where I hope it will end. There is my docent training which feels thrilling and worldly, demanding and frivolous, and fits me well and does not suit at all — all at once. And there is my role as mother, which is really my highest priority and has been since Kate was born. The incremental letting go as she matures combined with the increasing demands on her time (and subsequently mine as chauffeur until she is getting herself from points A to B to C and back on her own) has its own toll on my energy and well-being.
Case in point: This weekend just past began with a class, Friday night through Saturday afternoon. Because Kate and her quintet-mates had a gig in Syracuse Saturday evening, we agreed that Bruce and Kate would swing by the retreat center where I was staying and pick me up immediately after class, and we would then make our way to Syracuse, dinner and then the concert venue.
I do not sleep well at the retreat center where the class meets, and the class was on ethics, particularly that of war (pacifism v. just war v. the Christian realism of Niebuhr with a little Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sprinkled in) — heavy stuff. I was exhausted by 3 p.m. They picked me up at about 4. We made it to the event on time, stayed for the reception after, and arrived home at 12:30 Sunday morning. Kate had a piano jury at 1 p.m. Sunday, and we had a date with friends for lunch at 2 that lasted until at least 4 — I lost track. I attended a lecture at 7 p.m. Yesterday morning I hoped for a snow day and freedom from responsibility for just one day. It was not to be, and off to docent-training and a mini-presentation I went.
Now I have a paper to write in response to that class, and another class to prepare for in two weeks. And there’s that pesky job and docent-training with their own demands.
I did this to myself. The worst of it will be over in mid-June. Here’s hoping I am as bendy and forgiving as the lilac was in its younger days. I fear I may not be.
Of course the prize for all the weekend’s effort was hearing this: