The Breath between the Breath.

Today at noon I was stalled at my computer, the book proposal and the submissions going nowhere. Frankly, I felt overwhelmed by the news — the virus, inconceivable despair in Afghanistan, the state of emergency in hospitals AGAIN –and everything felt heartbreaking and confidence breaking. Writing prose seemed a waste of time, or rather time spent on the wrong things. By the middle of the morning, hump day was proving to be a very steep climb. I got up and went to the carwash.

While the car dripped I impulsively looked online for a time slot to access the Bloedel Reserve. I was on the trail ten minutes later, swinging my arms, skirting meandering visitors, craning my neck up at the trees, easing down past the rhododendron groves. Not until the moss woods and past the water lilies did I feel the air filling my chest. Back at the car forty-five minutes later, I peeled off socks, unlaced boots and headed back to my desk; drove bare foot back to Wren Cottage with the windows wide open.

One of my covid take-a-ways: there is really so. much. more. time. in the day than I allowed pre-quarantine; that there is breath between the breath if I relax; that the minutia, the small encounters, count more than I ever realized.

A little story about time and shifting perspective. I am privileged to have the freedom and the means to do this in a beautiful woodland, a roof over my head. How can I change helplessness?

I sat back down recalibrated — donated to an organization working amidst the crisis in Afghanistan, ordered more masks. Filed the essay away for a day. I brought up the news I dislike to listen to both sides of the story. This is what I could do.

Headed to anger and panic this morning, losing ground on making a difference, I took that space between and changed it up. I took that extra breath. I refocused.

And lo and behold, right under my feet, this was happening.

With you, friends.

Autumn Cyclamen, The Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Island, WA