I often wake with heartache, like I endured some loss in dreams. I rise from my bed in a fog, day breaking before my eyes can see. I move into the light with precision, accomplishing morning tasks, albeit gracelessly.
The pain sits on my chest. It is heavy but soft, an infinite blanket of sadness. I feel it in my knees and back. I try to swallow it down with water, but water passes through it. Even sunshine cannot touch this darkness spun from the needs or beliefs of others I have, often inadvertently, undertaken. I try to tell myself, “These things do not belong to you,” but my hands are fisted and refuse to open.
Today I woke from troubled sleep and moved into the day with clarity. There was no pain. I did not falter or panic as I moved through my morning routine: clothe kids, feed them, pack lunches, make coffee, make my own breakfast, finish dressing, preschool drop-off. After, I put down the windows of my van and felt the cool promise of Fall.
Fall is my beginning each year. Fall is where I climb, Winter where I descend the most, and Spring where life recovers. Fall is the season of my creativity, when my heart aches the most for the family I am separated from, when I set everything down that is not mine and travel inward to undertake the most daunting projects of grief and wholeness and personal re-creation.
This year, my list is formidable. I refuse to look at it too long because I will start to believe it is impossible. But today, I set aside any expectations that weren’t mine. I lined up all my goals, measured each objectively. Felt their weight, their shape. Felt how they belonged to me. I asked myself what I could accomplish and smiled with anticipation. I feel ready. I feel free, alive, capable.
There will be hard days–there always are–but the trees are dancing outside my window and the morning made promises I know it will keep.