The summer of my discontent: an irony.

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I feel like a bird.

A bird with a broken wing. In a cage. On an island. Set afloat in the sea. It’s an inflatable island, with a pin-sized hole, or series of them, on a trajectory for The Great Garbage Patch in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

On the 4th of July, I was hiking and took a fall. Im pretty good at falling, normally. But, this is 2020, so I of course ended up in the emergency room. With a broken shoulder. In gross technical terms, it is a mildly-displaced comminuted fracture of the greater tuberosity of my humerus. Not. Humorous, that is. In short, I cracked the sticky-outy bit that connects (by way of the rotator cuff) the arm bone to the shoulder bone.

Fast forward a few weeks, an alien-looking scanning machine, doctor visits, and the inevitable re-acquaintance with my physical therapist, I’m trying to find the silver lining, the teachings, the it’s not that bad moments while I invent new curse words and restrain myself from throwing kitchen implements across my flat. I am not amused.

I’ve begun making a list of things in two-handed life that are simply easier:

1. Everything

In the grand scheme of things, I am lucky. I didn’t hit my head, I didn’t tear my rotator cuff clean off, I didn’t smash my knee nearly as badly as I could have… And I’m fortunate: health insurance and stable job and working from home and paid time off and a weekly farmers market across the street and a safe place to (attempt to) sleep.

Which makes me think of the things that are truly broken in the hamster-wheel-world on which we’re running at breakneck speed (towards what, I do not know):

1. Everything

I’ve been fluctuating between “things work out, just not the way you expected they would” and “are you f*cking kidding me?” for the better part of this hell-clad year. We all have. Absurdity and evil and death and crisis and hate and propaganda and ignorance and racism and inequity and grief have been flying around like a meteor shower; lines blurred between which things to dodge, confront, blow up or flee.

The sunny days belie this weariness. I’m broken, literally and figuratively. I am so tired.

And I’ve been contemplating this during my walks at the end of the day: I don’t believe that things happen for a reason, but I think right now there is so much random debris swirling in the proverbial stratosphere that some of it needs a place to land. The realist in me says: and some of it will land on you so you’ll need to just suck it up.

To counter the world-weariness, I’ve been looking for signs of light: I saw a sharp-shinned hawk catch his breakfast in a tree the other day; I watched a honeybee collecting pollen at lunchtime; I watched the sky turn an eerie vivid orange amidst distant thunder and lightning; and just yesterday a rainbow burst from Isaias’ blue-black clouds in the eye of the storm.

We can’t tune out the evil or it will win. But we can seek something like balance for when the days get bleak.

L’équilibre n’existe pas. Nous sommes tous, et seulement, des équilibristes. (Eva Ruschpaul)🕉

Written by

Instructional Designer, writer, photographer, wanderer, reluctant but sometimes sparkly introvert, curious one, believer in magic. http://lesliwoodruff.com

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