Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Chronic Spring

Spring was a long time coming this year. Even as the snow melted and the robins came back the days still seemed too short, too dark.

But sooner or later every winter must end, no matter how deep or how dark, and even I can tell that the sunlight is brighter and lasts longer than it did in December. Staying stuck in the dark days of winter would require denial of the tulips rushing out of the ground and the fat, happy buds on the big old Forsythia.

Life is like that. Seasons come and go without care for personal metaphors. The garden dwellers that survived the winter don't spend a moment mourning their neighbors that couldn't make it until spring. Growth just goes on, filling the empty spaces until soon there is only green abandon.

So I'm awake and thankful and going about the business of every day. Still, something is different inside me. I am keenly aware of the brevity of life and the lack of promises we get from the universe. I've been careful not to push too hard or risk too much. Maybe that's been necessary, but maybe it's been a mistake.

This summer I'm going to risk. Big.

I haven't indulged my love of education since I found out just what chronic means. It's too iffy. I might pay my tuition and then never make a single class. Or get halfway through and not be able to finish. And exhaustion inevitably leads to payback. The spirit may be willing but the disease will take its toll.

Today, Spring is strong and I feel the same. I've made a decision to jump off a high bridge into a tank of icy water filled with man-eating sharks. Well -- really I've decided to take a class.

In August an internationally-known quilt artist will be teaching a seminar class for a week, just about an hour from where I live. I love her work. I drool to think of what she could teach me. But it would mean a hefty investment of funds, a week away from home, eight-hour class days plus evenings spent doing "homework". My first assumption was that I could never do it. Never. Nope. Not for me anymore. I'm chronic and helpless and have no options.

And have no patience with that kind of attitude from myself. I really want that class with Rosalie Dace, and I'm going to make it. I've talked to the good Dr. B and to my husband (who probably will qualify for sainthood before this whole thing is over) and to my friends who are going to be in the class. Now, I have something I haven't had for a long time; I have hope and I have a plan.

Friday before the class starts on Monday (this is in August) I am going to let my favorite nurse shoot my backside with a lot of steroids. I don't pitch for the major leagues so it shouldn't be a problem. I'm going to fill a prescription for more steroids and for something that will give me energy -- just for a week. And I'm going to go. Yes, I'll be pumped up like crazy and may not sleep that week. Oh, wait, I forgot -- I'm going to have a week's worth of sleep aids. And my buddies say that a rest period can be worked into the day.

I may fall apart half-way through and have to leave. Well, that's more of the class than I would have had before. And without doubt I will pay dearly in the week or two after my medicated state wears off. I know this is only possible because of the wonders of chemistry. So what. I'm going to do this thing. Yes, the cost is high. But I have the chance to learn from an artist I greatly respect. A chance to spend a week with women whose company I enjoy and who will be sharing the opportunity to grow in our art together. A chance to reach farther than I've reached in so very long.

Mostly, I have a chance to step outside my chronic life and taste life the way it used to be. How could I resist?


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Teri said...

I applaud you for reaching outside your comfort zone and taking this class. I know how it is to feel anxious about making commitments. I'll be crossing my fingers for you that it goes really well. Keep us posted. :)