I stare down into the grey vortex as it spins beneath me and grows wider, deeper. My conflict is in its midst and well beyond my grasp; I'm not sure if I should save it or let it perish in the fast current into some unknown depth of black pitch. I reach for its small green limbs, but my hand aimlessly flutters. Helpless. Nothing. Nothing will come of this attempt. And the conflict becomes smaller and smaller, turning and twisting before someone grabs the sides of the vortex. He sharply pulls it from my bent chest, which heaves in pain, pain from loss. He confidently twists the top, seals it with a white twist-tie. It is now today's trash. Baggage. He slowly drops it in the bin for dramatic effect; the lid loudly slams. I turn in silence, walk away.
Dreams. How can I turn away? The unresolved conflicts from other days, those which bear some regrets, which have shaped me as person, a mother, a friend, a basket case. I dream so much without the 4:15 alarm. They haunt me with a vengeance. Still, the holidays are a welcome respite from the day-in day-out routine of literature with a side of attitude at 8:30, lunch at 10 a.m., writing with a dose of accomplishment from 11:30 to 2:30. Lather, rinse, repeat.
This is the cycle of life. Unfortunately, for the most part.
When can we throw all of this routine away and live like we should? Creatures meant to share in the beauty of nature, the beauty of each other. The holidays have become too far materialistic and alien to me. The stress and pressure of wanting to please everyone else at the risk of sacrificing your own principles ... I dunno. But with two little squirrels, I am stuck in this pattern. And I don't know how to get out of it. I can't, I guess. Christmas morning brought slammed doors, thrown gifts, looks of disappointment. Am I allowing them to buy into this external pressure of keeping up with everyone else? Meanwhile, I wear my suede Keds, Mary Jane style, circa 1994, and a pair of old Levis that give me a truck-butt. Is this a sign that I've given up? That I will soon not care about my aging spirit?
My girls awake, determined to play this Nintendo DS. Why did I do it? Buy into this mass marketing crap? Good reasons: sharpen fine motor skills and critical thinking elements for a squirrel tagged "learning disabled." Fine. But now, it's her crack. Conversations, I fear, will disappear. So, to balance it all out, we put on Puccini. It was "too loud." It made it difficult to hear the talking animals on the pink box of wonder. So right now, it's a no-electronics moment. It's craft time, with a little bit of arguing thrown in for good measure. They push each other a bit. They throw aside each other's beads. They say "yours is ugly" and "no, yours is ugly." And they wipe their noses on their sleeves and steal the purple ones from each other. And that's fine. At least they're talking. And this will serve as more of a memory than an average day at school, even if it feels like a spinning vortex at the moment.