(I wrote most of this yesterday, but there is an addition at the end of the post.)
It’s snowing here. The dramatic weather round the country seems to be reaching us, in a moderated form. The early morning news casters wear their sweaters, and the graphics remind us that this is not just "News Center" but "STORM CENTER."
We’re accustomed to snow. And although we don’t like a wintry mix, we know how to cope with that, too, should it turn later today. Gusts of wind? No problem. We will stay home, but if we need to get out, we can count on the roads being properly cleared and treated in City By the Sea.
For the children it will be a quiet day: no school, no outside activities. They will practice their music, take turns with the computer, maybe watch a movie later. When Snowman wakes up, he’ll build a fire in the fireplace. I’ll make coffee cake for breakfast, probably, although I realize we’re out of cinnamon. They will relax, have a day off.
For me, what would have been a day off, a day of mental quiet, will be busy with their presence and filled with their conversation. And while I love their company, I also crave silence and solitude. I want to feel the peaceful landscape on the inside, too.
I’m finding it hard to find recharging time. I know I must, somewhere and somehow. I have a sense that some of the sights and sounds and companions that have been part of the inner landscape are shifting, making way for the new and the unknown. I don’t feel anxious, but I do feel eager and, on some level, a bit nostalgic for the way things were.
For many years I undertook a Jungian analysis, which formalized my impulse toward thinking symbolically, archetypally. Mythology, tarot, and my own holy book’s emphasis on dreams have all influenced me. Last night I found myself thinking of the card called "The Tower," but for the first time I did not fear it. Suddenly the idea of old ways breaking down, old paradigms shifting, old constructions collapsing did not frighten me. In this interpretation based in Greek mythology, Poseidon swims toward the Labyrinth of King Minos. It is a story of a pact broken and a supernatural revenge, a story in which the person with power tries to resist the other-earthly powers and cares not if he sacrifices even those who have helped him in a time of difficulty. The Tower contains secrets and shame, and a great natural force unleashed by Poseidon’s trident will break it open.
Even though I have long expressed an urge to be broken open, I know how hard I have worked in the past to resist certain kinds of change. It can be one of the hardest parts of moving forward, can’t it? Inevitably some things, some ideas, some people or characteristics are left behind. Even the ones we may wish to change hold on tenaciously, as we wonder if we will be the same and fear who we might be without them.
The good news about the inner landscape is that we can keep, in some way, even the departed, if we want them to stay. No storm can crush them or sweep them away. They are ours to call forward or dismiss or rearrange, decorations on the inner mantelpiece, this one brought forward, that one turned just so, a tableau to consider, inhabit and re-imagine. On this quiet day, I hope to find some moment in which to consider my center and how it may be altered by the approaching storm.
Added Saturday: As it turns out, the Tower card was right on point. I learned later yesterday that Snowman has a dream of going away next year to a school that would allow him to enhance his musical training, an event, if it occurs, that would certainly shift the family situation and, with it, the inner landscape. I have often wondered what it will be like when we are three at home, but I didn’t expect to have that time come until he left for college. Our house seems anticipatorily enormous this morning, particularly as I sit in it alone but for cats and dogs.
I appreciate his passion. I wonder what my life might have been like had I been so clear at 16 about what I wanted to do, where I would be, who I would be.
My brother went away to boarding school, and it was the making of him. I was discouraged from doing the things I loved, and it took me a long, long time to determine I could do them anyway. I don’t want to be the parent who stops that process unfolding in him. Or in myself.