Songs of an anxious mind

Little litanies of complaint. No doubt about it, I’m having trouble doing my work. Trouble getting things done. Trouble sleeping. Trouble waking. How my eyes ache. And my joints. Yesterday nausea. I just want to curl into a ball and sleep. Go for a walk. Flee. (But to where? And how? Every road elsewhere appears beset with closures, quarantines and other obstacles.) My heart feels funny. It is as if neither my eyes nor my brain can focus–as if the frame glitches and slips just a little, the visible world doubling at the edges.

I step out onto the porch, then sit, leaning against the house wall in the light. But look, the trees are full of finches and they are chirping. One dips just overhead, and settles in the pine where I can see it. A humming bird buzzes by, hovering just above me. On the water, the rumble of lobster boats visiting their traps. The dog lies beside me, both of us soaking up the heat (at last, heat). The water calm, almost a mirror, the sun hazy behind a scrim of cloud. It will rain later, I think, although I could be wrong. The kingfisher natters and swoops over the pond. The rhubarb whorls up, so too whole stands of daffodils. Violets and wild strawberries dot the paths, and the lupins emerge, each starburst leaf cupping a droplet of water.

Worry returns. Oh why don’t my eyes work? Perhaps I just need to rest them a bit.

Eyes closed, I listen. Lazy buzzing of flies. A sparrow song. Annoying whir of a drone–no, don’t tell me one of the neighbours has a drone; not that bother again. Around the point, honking geese. A long-legged willet alarms, circling; her cries echo across the bay. And there, high above the dock, the swallows angling and turning. We can always hope the drone will drive itself into the sea. Chatter between a blue jay and a squirrel, an exchange of insults, or is it news? (Why do I think every exchange calumnious?) The daily update. A crow comments, or perhaps carries on another conversation altogether–human and forever distracted, tone deaf to a world full of nuance, how would I know?

A shadow passes over me. How the clouds ease the heat. With the turning tide, sudden small gusts of wind. The surface of the water shivers and moves.

And so do I.

One thought on “Songs of an anxious mind

  1. What a beautiful little text–so evocative and delicate, so perfect in its descriptions of nature, so painful in its human discomfort and alienation. Thank you for mentioning violets and wild strawberries in the same sentence: these are two of my favourite things, and the burst of colour they brought up made me happy. Let us be the finch, the sparrow, the bluejay, the squirrel, the crow, the lobster, the violet and the strawberry–that is the way out of the panoptic head. xox, Tessa.


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