“Do you think you’re falling into a depression around this COVID thing?” he asks.
”Yes,” I respond.
But the weight is about so much more than the pandemic, and depression doesn’t fully describe what’s happening in and around me.
When things get loud I tend toward quiet; these days I lean in even more to healing silence. The cacophony feels like an assault, so I sit in my woman cave and wash paint on paper while procrastinating about things I have little desire to tend to.
I walk out of grocery stores, overwhelmed by arrows and the COVID dance we do around one another and the general sense of heaviness. I guess I don’t need that thing, whatever it is, after all. I’ll try again another day.
I pay a visit to the bookstore—a place I’ve often gone when I need to return to myself. Forty people at a time allowed. An employee keeps count of the bodies entering and leaving. Chairs have been removed. No lingering allowed. The magazine section is cordoned off. The doors to the adjoining coffee shop closed. And it’s cold. Uncomfortably so. I guess they don’t want anyone to get too comfortable in the stacks. So I leave.
I write about a season of depression in The Presence of Absence in a chapter called Dark Night. This is less a dark night than it is a gray day and please, oh please, let the sun shine bright soon. They gray feels oppressive. Less a blanket of comfort than a thing that suffocates.
But the gray times are peppered with coffee and one-on-one conversation in shops and parks, and these things are good. So, very good. They keep me afloat and give me things to ponder. They keep me connected and restore my faith.
I go to the garden and cut scapes from the garlic and think about a Creator who imagines such whimsy. I pull tiny weeds and tidy things up; pick lettuce, radishes, and the first Picolino cucumber for a supper salad.
At night my little Yorkie, Maya, crawls over us and tries to get as close as she can. She snuggles in. She climbs on top of our heads. The wind through the window, the rattle of the bedroom door, and the sound of curtains flapping unsettle her.
I get it, girl. I feel ya.
All is not as it was. It all feels a little bit shaky.
I read psalms. I lament.
I lean in. I lean hard.