Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fallow Season

This weekend has been one of the quieter ones, the kind of quiet imposed on the centers of storms, the kind that is needed to sustain, the mandatory opposite of action. I do understand the balance such days provide, the kind that force me to just sit still and wait.

Now I don't presume to evoke ghosts of Milton, where the waiting has some cosmic significance or divine directive. On the contrary, actually, this waiting has been forced on me because my constant worrying over trifles, the various, varying demands made upon my conscious mind, and the fast pace of our disjointed lives has caused a system failure of sorts in the primary circuitry of my being.

I have been primarily couch-bound for the past few days, weighed down by a fever and an exhaustion that looms by 2pm, and I have spent hours, supine beside my computer with stacks of ungraded work, surrounded by floors that need cleaning and a house that needs picking up. I have had to take many, many naps, each feeling like an infinite stretch of time, where the world outside the door shifts axis while I am held captive by whirlwinds of unresolvable worries that clutch me in their nightmare jaws.

I acknowledge the necessity of this fallow season. It reminds me of other fallow seasons which have changed my inner landscape irrefutably. The one that comes to mind is the long three weeks of enforced bed rest when I was on the brink of puberty. It was ages ago, from where I stand today, of course. But that was the season during which I realised that my true love was going to be, had always been the fictional word. My students today ask me when I had the time to read all the mythology and tales I teach and I know I have my fallow season to thank.  My inner self had used that season to adjust, fit, evaluate, and compensate for the being I was growing into, while the stories of the past ages whispered important input and sketched indelible patterns on the basic structure of the self as it moved towards a stable, crystallized form.

This fallow season is no exception. The difference is in the stories I am feeding this self. These are newer tales (though it is the same Story), woven in different hues and textures. On the one hand, I am going through the Puranas (the most ancient, contemporary, changing, iconoclastic of Hindu literature), and on the other hand, I watch all the television series that I never usually have the time to catch up on, as I nap. Squeezed between the cracks are the occassionals, like the books my book club is reading and the latest Umberto Eco I just stumbled upon at the public library.

I do not hope to have a firm grasp on why this season has been necessary, or what it is supposed to give my inner landscape. Those thoughts are nebulous and will wisp away if examined. All I know is that some sort of regeneration has been required. My house is being worked on (for the time being), my child is fluffing up her wings and checking her compasses to begin her first flight into adulthood, and even my usually clueless conscious self can clearly see that a stage of our lives is closing up.

Today is the first day that I have been able to stay up this late after 3pm, and I've had only one nap, so I know that the time for me to get up is very near. Unlike the end of the earlier fallow season, however, I do not find myself particularly looking forward to the new season that awaits around the bend; I am afraid I might not have the energy for it. These past months have, I fear, broken something in me, re-wired something essential. I am afraid I might be proven unable, lacking in whatever the new stage demands of me, that this fallow season might be sown in dry earth, incapable of bringing forth all that it used to.

I lie here, shivering, the napping cats my main heat source. I hope and pray that I find the new stage a recognizable setting, with familiar choices and realised hopes. I invoke the kind gods I read of to rudder and steer my ship; I invoke the stars to guide my compass; I invoke the fallow season to sow enough for me to recognize the axis mundi from mirages; I invoke the Story to map understandable directives; and I invoke the true horizon to steady my course.

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