Each day is a day of discovery, how it feels to make cookies, to get flour on the counter, to eat them silently, enjoying the butterscotch flavor of the butter and brown sugar with the rich darkness of the chocolate chips. Looking at myself in the mirror, and accepting the cold sore that has been attempting to grow there for about two months. I give up and do not take my usual L-Lysine. I note the way the dog lies by the door looking out at the neighborhood, and when it becomes dark he jumps up on the chair beside me, Marley makes room for him, gracious and kind, and the cat jumps up and we are three huddled on a chair and an ottoman. I brush him, gentle, mindful of being bitten just a few days ago, he hurts, and I am just trying to make him comfortable; as if he knows, he seems more kind and more gentle with me, coming to me quiet and laying his head on my knee. I know buddy, panting though it isn’t hot, I know you are hurting.
And when I take down the leash he comes to me, he wants badly to go, and he plugs away trudging slowly but steadily beside me, stopping now where he never would have before to drink from the rocky stream. Marley races down the paths, and then romps in the water with a gentle push, and then almost pulls me in as she leaps to the embankment on the other side.
Taking note of the sleep, finally, which enters my life through prescribed drugs. I feel human, I feel alive. I feel serene. Do I not now look at my life for more than a half dozen years and ask, was all of it worth it? I sigh with pleasure as I settle into a chair on the screened porch. The dogs watch birds and squirrels and the cat waits for her boyfriend to visit.
I go out into the yard and there is a patch of sun on a large raised and flat rock and I sink down onto it, soaking in its warmth after the cold of yesterday, my knees settle and my hands and without thought or effort I am meditating. My thoughts race, and twist and bend but I am so at peace.
Even my dreams of long lost love have changed, I tell him in my dream, this isn’t real, you are not actually here, you wouldn’t ever be here, I wouldn’t let you. None of this is real, he chastises me and thinks I am crazy. I am not. I wake from the dream, I have found a path out of the nightmares.
I spend the day shopping at the market, doing housework, yard work, mowing and weeding, and shoveling, I make strawberries into jam and bananas into bread, I wash and cut and package fruit and vegetables for healthy snacks, and by noon I have done it all. I am not lazy, don’t you ever fucking call me lazy again.
Old friends visit, and see the ease of my manner, they comment on it. I had crossed a threshold of tightly wound to the point of being off balance, but a change of scenery makes all the difference, I feel at ease. Was all this trouble for this?
The dogs beg to go out, ringing the bells on the front door, they want a walk. I name the new paths, this one is Jumping Pit Bull Lane, this one is Stair to NoWhere, this one is Huck’s Island Path, this one is Creek Path. And what might I name myself?
I paint my toenails in the dusk, and marvel at how beautiful I feel.