As I was pulling away from the house today, I realized that I had a glaring orange eye of shame regarding me on my dashboard. I was low on fuel. The bad thing was, not only had the light been on since the night before, when I had completely forgotten it and driven home in a haze, but I was driving my daughter to the old house so she could catch the bus and we were low on time. It’s a metaphor, complete, for my life right now. It wasn’t the money – I can certainly afford to put gas in the car – it’s about the time and attention. You all have known I’m running low on fuel for a while – the blog sputtering into long silences shows that if nothing else. The thing is, it’s all a season, and it will pass.
It won’t pass if I don’t take the time to stop and gas up the car from time to time. I put 11.2 gallons in a 12 gallon tank this morning. I probably could have made it to work, and might even have gotten most of the way home, with that part of a gallon. But maybe not. And there’s a point when you have to stop and assess where you’re at, and what the risks are, before you keep charging blindly ahead. Yesterday I got out of work, went home, and collapsed for a nap. I literally couldn’t go any further, I was out of gas and had been running on fumes all day long. After an hour’s sleep, I felt human and was able to get some things done. Like dinner. And planting the first thing in my garden. I have things that need planting badly, but time… I put the rhubarb cutting I was gifted in the ground, though. It’s got quite the root system, so I’m hoping for good things from it. And while I was kneeling in the cool grass with muddy hands, showing the Jr Mad Scientist the juvenile cicada I’d dug up, I was reminded that this is what I’ve been missing. The time to dig my hands into the earth, to find a bug… and I didn’t photograph it. I didn’t have the energy to go wash my hands, find the camera, and…
So it’s time for some self-care. We all need to do this from time to time. Try to etch out a moment to do something you love. Get into bed early. Make sure you eat a real meal. Last night I was cooking with half my pantry moved to the new house, half back at the old, cooking pans all over heck and beyond… pork chops, saffron rice, and corn (because who knows where the frozen veg are? I don’t) and a naked chocolate cake. We all sat down to a hot meal together, and it was good. It was nourishing beyond the simple consumption of calories and essential amino acids. It was a family time to talk through the last few days, plan for transportation as life shifts, and to collect the frayed threads of life’s tapestry. I need to make sure that starts happening regularly again.
I put a full tank of gas in the car this morning. I put a full tank in me last night, with a full seven hours sleep after having fed my family and worked in the garden. Now, I need to keep a closer eye on that gas lamp, and if possible keep it from glaring at me again.