Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Moody Christmas Blues


In Northern Minnesota—

Snow falls softly on pines, collects like dust in the bows. Home, the home of my childhood, with my two children, ignites a flood of anxiety in me. I bark at my son, I fade into my phone, I drift at night through the corridors of dreaming, fear disguised as violence, joy in the lives of others.  I am not sad, not depressed, really. I am anxious. The snow falls and fills up space. The white creates a different kind of light. When I arrived I ran through fog on a Sunday afternoon and felt a deep sense of pleasure and relief. Now the snow will cover everything like a suffocation of space, a sucking out of landscapes; the lines of things will disappear. I hate the way my body feels in the cold.

Today, if my sister and her daughter ever arrive, I will walk down to the sauna and light a fire. I will stoke it all afternoon and then sit in it and sweat. I don’t want to shop for Christmas presents. I’m coming out of my funk. In the silence of the forest the house hums.

My mood ebbs and flows. Sometimes there is a violence to it. I am not myself. I over react; I feel rage. I try to ride it out in silence, keeping my body calm or at least away from others.

Moses pours water on the floor, soup on the table (twice), milk on the floor (twice); he will not eat. As a mother, I somehow feel it is my fault. I did this to him. But it is just his own inherited moodiness and his inability to regulate at the age of two and a half. He cannot stop himself from biting a Christmas tree light. I notice that he has the cord in his mouth when the lights blink. The tiny, narrow bulb is gone and two wires remain. Don't do that again, I say, after my mom and I call poison control, the ER, and two of my sisters. 

*

I ignore the baby. I ignore Moses. I stare out at the snow falling. I drink cold coffee in a salmon colored cup. The cup is smooth. Life is too long. Life is too short. No, it is timeless. I am always right here, in this body. Everything that has happened to me has happened to this very body. Time does not move forward anymore than seasons do. It hovers like weather on the body, casting its mark. We only know time because the body changes. The body weathers.

Christmas tree, Oh, Christmas tree.

Last week I sat with a friend in the co-op café. The window looked out onto rows of cut pines waiting to be purchased. She was in a foul mood. “I don’t like the smell of these dying trees,” she said. I laughed. She’s Jewish. My family was always so proud of our tree that we cut from the forest and dragged home. Even in our shabby apartments in West Virginia and North Dakota our home looked beautiful for the Christmas. Now I wonder about the dying tree thing. 

The baby nurses and nurses. He is always hungry. Moses sits too close to me demanding I draw pictures that he can cut into pieces. The snow falls and I wait for my sister.