My obsessions have been far more obvious in my writing lately. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been writing as much (quantity often leads to a diminution of experience). Maybe it’s just because I’m getting older (time distills a great many things besides alcohol).
At any rate, a cursory glance at this year’s posts reveals: a fascination with the subterranean; a desire for withdrawal; an appreciation for brokenness; a nostalgia for darkness, silence, solitude and stillness.
It’s not so much about going away as it is about going in. If the earth has its seasons—its winters and its falls—so does its children.
The logic of this cycle of generation-degeneration/creation-destruction/expansion-contraction/exitus-reditus is not lost on me. It’s a motif in mythology, philosophy and theology and a fact of astronomy, biology and ecology.
It’s simply how things work.
And yet…and yet…
This isn’t how life’s occurred to me for most of my existence (a classic example of the energy of youth fueling the perpetuation of an illusion). I went for years on full throttle without feeling the slightest hint of burnout. And now…well, I feel hollow all the way to my bones: brittle, insubstantial, glassy, on edge.
I think I’ve hit the limits of my outer borders and now there’s a majestic, primal and implacable urge to retreat: to return, to fold back in upon the self, to spin a cocoon, to wall off the world, to surrender to the terrible transformations that can only happen in the darkest and most solitary recesses of the soul.
At the very least, I’ll settle for a few blessed days to just stay in bed and curl up into a ball under the covers, allowing myself to go gently to seed, to fall gradually and gracefully apart, to be the vessel of a quiet and undramatic form of chaos.
(Nursing a bag of crisps and a bottle of soda won’t feel too bad either.)
But for now, for now (oh, what an eternity this now has been…) I’ll have to hold myself together (sometimes by will, more often by grace).
I haven’t yet earned the privilege of falling completely apart.