It's November and it would normally be colder than it is, but I will not quibble with the temperature outside that allows me to open my windows. The faint susurrus of wind on the leaves is soothing. It pleases me. A train horn blares across the river, the mechanical din only sweetening the sounds of the night. The storm inside my head finally breaks.
These mental tempests arise suddenly, linger far too long and always leave me drained and vaguely ashamed. I know I should not feel that way. The stresses and petty annoyances of life will always come and go. To be wrapped up in them is a sure path to being a malcontent, as I know to my deep chagrin.
The day was a few clouds, a lot of sun and breeze. The sky was pretty and the air inviting. I had rattled around in the box that is my home for most of the day when I suddenly felt the walls closing in me. It was time to leave. I absconded to my favorite local park, for what I hoped to be a soothing meditation on walking around the lake. It was not to be. Too many distractions, too many stresses intruding on my mind. Bills. Upcoming loss of health insurance. Joblessness. Being separated from those whom I love. Feeling helpless in the face of strife. I spiraled further down into a full-blown funk.
Not even the antics of the geese and golden sunlight could blow away the fog.
I came home and turned off the phone and the computer. I opened the windows. I took to the kitchen, hoping that chopping vegetables, making rice and stirring the pan would provide the balm I needed. It worked, to a degree. The meditative quality, the deliberation needed to do it right, both provided diversion. As a bonus, I had a delicious dinner, too. My own version of comfort food, though I have no name for the dish I made.
I watched the evening news as I ate, perched on the couch. I held the heavy white porcelain bowl close, feeling the warmth of the peppers, chicken and rice seep into my hands. Chewing became hypnotic. The tension in my shoulders and neck began to ease. The pervading metallic tang of discontent fading in the simple act of chew and swallow. I was mildly surprised when I looked down to see the bowl was empty.
Afterwards, I turned off the television. I turned, as I often do, to write something. The image I could not rid from my mind was that of pebbles in a coffee can, tumbling down a never-ending hill. All the troubles, fears, and insecurities so many rocks banging against the container of my brain.
So I sat still, next to the open window by the dining table, and let the gentle hands of the wind massage my temples. The din subsided. I saw the coffee can come to rest, perhaps hard up against a tree or buffered by a thicket somewhere. I sent up a small prayer of thanks. The wind nods it head, and whispers sweet nothings.