Circumstances & Dirty Cell Phone Screens

The weather has finally taken a positive turn and we are once again on friendly terms.  I’ve promised to not complain about the inevitable springtime temperature fluctuations and rain showers, and it has agreed to not allow it to rain for more than two days in a row.  Judging by next week’s forecast, I’m fairly certain one of us will soon be breaking our tenuous truce….

I’ve been struggling a bit as of late:  I’ve been busy, exhausted, overwrought, with everything being just too too.  Some times are just like that, really.  In the last few days, however, I feel like I’m finally returning to normal stasis;  I have time to breathe and think and live outside of the chaos that has been my life for the last several weeks.  In a moment of clarity and self-care, I decided that I am going to do my best to walk instead of ride the bus from where I’m required to park to my office and back again each day.

It’s a bit of a meander across the campus, with parts that are alternately very historic, stately, and regal and then altogether typical to academia;  other parts are simply bucolic.  There is a piece early in the walk that takes me over the main street.  There is nothing remarkable about this part of the walk, not in the least.  I cross a cement overpass over a busy road;  athletic fields with chain link fences line one side and boxy, brick dorms greet me on the other.  But as I came across the bridge the other morning, I was struck by the beauty of spring in all her finery on one side of the street below:  trees in vibrant bloom, a little creek glistening in the sunlight, looking clear, clean and refreshing.  I stopped for a moment and took it in, deciding to snap a photo as I’m apt.  I pulled out my phone and adjusted my position to try to capture it all as best I could.

But I couldn’t see the screen:  between the bright sunshine and my sunglasses, all I saw was a black screen.

I wanted the photo to remind myself of how beautiful life can be, how breathtaking some moment just are.  I wanted to share it with my friends and family, who would appreciate it simply for what it was.  But because of circumstances, all I could see in that moment was a dark and dirty screen.  But I clicked the button anyway and hoped for the best.  And there it was.

Imagine that.

Phoenix Rising

I was asked recently what my spirit animal was.  It’s something that has come into my peripheral vision lately for reasons I’m not sure I understand and probably am not meant to.  And I was stymied.  It wasn’t that I couldn’t think of one, I simply couldn’t put words to that which fit undeniably. 

I recalled later, when off the spot, that I’d recently taken an online quiz that is all the rage right now with me.  It related specifically to Harry Potter’s patronus but correlated with the spirit animal issue and my patronus was the phoenix.  It’s unclear to me now, really, looking back if I had simply shoved that idea back into the recesses of my memory banks or if I simply couldn’t retrieve it because I was with folks I didn’t well know and couldn’t offer that so flippantly.  There is weight to the idea of the phoenix and all of what it represents.  And while most of the quizzes I take are simply for fun, there is a degree to which many hit home, and this one probably more so than others.  I’ve been in the depth of grief for some time now and riding the waves of that, afraid to simply stand up on the board with my arms out, trusting for balance.  I’ve been knocked down, knocked over, pulled under more times than I can count – what’s to say that this time is the time to stand?  But what is it that makes the phoenix rise from the ashes of what once was, with strength and renewal…and hope?  That’s what I need to stand on again.