October 02, 2006

I'm back I guess.


Been a long time. Almost two weeks. I've been through a rough patch. But I think the worse is over. The storm is clearing. I think my subconscious assured me of this with a dream.

Saturday night I dreamed of lightning striking trees. The woods where I grew up exploded and shattered lumber landed in smoldering heaps around my screaming family. One particularly frightening image involved my mother nearly being crushed. But she was safe. And still the lightning boomed and destroyed those familiar trees of my childhood.

I had another frustrating dream where I was lost in my local grocery store. I wanted to make chocolate chip cookies and couldn't find the proper ingredients. The following morning I bought a tube prepackaged dough and spooned it onto a metal sheet for the simplest (and cleanest) baking possible. Baked from scratch cookies would have been great, but the simple cookie dough brand still provided a needed resolution to the frustrating dream.

I think I also had a seizure in the night. Not a dream, but I vaguely remember the physical sensation of it, giving myself into it in the safety of my bed. Enough about seizures and cookies; back to the main event: lightning and trees.

Changing colors on Autumn trees never fail to get me thinking about missed opportunities or things I've done wrong.

October is always an introspective month. I love autumn’s sensations: brisk, earthy, chilly, but still there's that nagging feeling that your's truly is a big ole failure. Howdy.

Between the yellowing branches and my seasonal malaise, the Fall is here in full force friends. That nightmare lingered with me well into the evening on Sunday. I had a flashback of it while Bryce and I sat in the tiny seats at Town Hall watching Sufjan Stevens in concert. An image of chopped wood appeared across the giant video screen behind the musicians. It was eerie too that Sufjan discussed lightning hitting a tree and setting his house on fire. I've been known to have prophetic dreams before.

In my dream, following the destructive storm, I returned to my home to find long lines of chopped wood. My father (and I'm certain my grandfather in whatever capacity he can help at his advanced age) had gathered all the shattered wood and neatly chopped it and arranged it for the approaching winter.

I used to hate chopping wood, lugging the smaller logs to be split atop our chopping stump, balancing them on one end, hefting a maul: one side blunt, the other sharp, a heavy tool. These days want to feel that exertion, the roughness on my hands and the practiced steadiness of the chopping, again.

I want to be a provider for my family. To build a fire for my mom's comfort. To have a task, something I can put my hands on, to occupy my mind. Instead I often feel like a troublemaker with too much freedom on his hands. What’s that proverb about idle hands? I am a troublemaker.

I know I have ample household chores to finish. I once saw chopping wood as an obstacle between me and my Sega Genesis, as opposed to a means to protect and comfort my family. Today such chores (laundry, dishes, and changing light bulbs) stand between me and my computer. It's eye opening to realize I haven't changed much in fourteen years. There are so many things I can do to show love to my sweetheart. But I want to do household chores not as simply a means to be able to fight villains online, but as a show of support and love for the home we have together. But lately, the latter motivation isn't "cutting it" for me. And this makes me panicky and frightened.

At least there are chocolate chip cookies, right?


FiL said...

When I came home from work this afternoon, I automatically gravitated towards the computer to check my e-mail and the like. I then remembered the last paragraph of this most eloquent post, checked myself, and played trains with my son instead.

Thank you so much, Neil. And welcome back.

*FiL proffers Neil a virtual, made-from-scratch chocolate chip cookie*

Riley said...

I saw Sufjan here in Atlanta. Good show.

Glad you're back.