And now, a poem (’cause it’s been a while and I am grumpy)

Most mornings it is a mound

A heaping pile of glistening pebbles

Pearly white or shining ebony

(depending on my mood)

I feel it brimful, topped up, an hourglass ready and full,

but often I awake and it’s already half-gone.

The sun moves across the sky

shadows shift and winds change

And each pebble drops noiselessly

Softly

Inexorably

Down.

It leaves not a vacuum, not empty space

Only pressure

An empty weight that presses down

pushing the next pebbles forcefully through

Their shaft opening greasily, yawning wide

until the bulk of the pebbles fall

and I am left with pressure alone

that bends my shoulders and curves my back

lowers my brow and grinds my teeth

furrows the lines from nose to mouth

picks at my cuticles and tears at my nails

exhaled in sharp breaths and paining my stomach

I take deep breaths

inhale

count to four

blow out slowly

count to seven

isolate the tension

be mindful of surroundings

one or two orbs pop gracefully back through

comforting ease like small hands on my skin

they wobble and fall as easily

tentative balance broken

I bend, cracking, creaking, groaning

counting the minutes until I can collapse

and let it build again.

It helps to be held at the end of the day

or in the middle.

Arms around me bring the pebbles up

patting them back into place.

Freeing my lungs

Lightening my feet

And I can take the load again

Answer the questions

Find the sought-after

Give the instructions

Laugh and enjoy

until the pebbles sink low

tide ebbing

temperature rising

edges sharper

tinged with red

gripped harder

breathe in

breathe out

have a cup of tea

read

rest

put the pebbles back

one

at

a

time.

Byron said “She walks in beauty” —

He mentions no worry

or guilt

or frowns

I wish I were she.

Relaxed and fulfilled

Accepting and ready to embrace . . .

I try to remember what it was to be small

To be young and new

Everything massive and frightening and free

If I can see light through their eyes

Remember the joys and heartbreaks

Confusion and revelation

Competition and pride

The pressure lessens as the hourglass refills

in defiance of physics.

Every year gravity gets stronger

though.

Harder to resist.

Breathe in

Breathe out

Rest

Read

Savour the small moments of peace

that allow the pebbles to surface again.

Find solitude

Find company

Tomorrow the struggle returns.

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