Sometimes I wonder whether the "don't censor yourself" rule for this blog is actually purely masochism on my part. Sometimes I literally have no clue what I am saying. This is one of those good ol' times.
Early morning, striding across the soccer field; it's cold and windy, and the ground is spongy with the previous night's rain. It soaks your shoes. It was a good sleep, last night; a warm room and empty, save for beds and desks, and only a backpack to worry about, not like your own room with its piles of books and clothes and towels strewn around from all your hurried rushes out the door.
There's ice water seeping deliberately into your toes; they're saturated with the chill you chose when you decided that this was a shortcut, and you took it anyway, whispering to yourself that it would wake you up, make you more conscious, and you need to be aware. You've been asleep-awake, a zombie in your work except for brief flashes when you're teaching or you're blazing forth with energy to wake somebody else up. Or multiple somebodies.
There have been meetings in the last few months that left you trembling; there is a passion for something that runs deep within you, and every now and then it flashes and it blinds you. It comes rarely. It comes when you feel like an empty shell, drained and exhausted, and grit your teeth and walk into a (virtual or physical) room where the meeting is... and then something rises. Rises and pours through, and suddenly the room's alive, the conversation crackles with enthusiasm - yours, but also theirs, and it draws forth and amplifies more energy, and lately you've been able to start - awkwardly - grabbing down thunderbolts from that, hurling them down at problems that you're trying to smash open, and sometimes-
This is the only way you know to give your friends those energy transfusions that you have wished to share with them for many years. It's just about the only gift you have, and sometimes you can't use it; they need to be tired, need to rest, and then you can't do anything. Rarely can you even be tired with them. You just keep on going. And always, after, when it comes and then it fades, you blink and physically shudder as it drains from you, and think, not me. That was not me. I can't do that.
But it happens, and a gift comes with the obligation that you have to use it fully. So you use it, and it drains you, and you use it, and you're tired, but you can keep going, and of course you do. And it makes warm winter mornings walking to the bus stop all the more precious, because there's no compulsion to bolt, nothing except a calm stroll and a gray sky and the growing awareness that your toes are freezing.
I have rationed myself, lately. It has been hard to stop even this much of the bright fire from happening. There is no finish line; there is no end of the semester. You come back and there aren't new classes, a fresh slate. You call your own trail markers now, and you are watchful lest the flywheel spin too fast and can't be stopped. You make yourself have ordinary moments. Soaking frozen feet in a tub of hot water, shaking ginger into a thick, sweet carrot stew. And you watch your friends wearing themselves translucent, and you wonder if they're also running so they won't fall over when they stop.
Ah, now I cannot even write coherently. I stop, I pull back, and I walk, and it takes effort, this slow walking, this taking it easy, this forcing myself to rest. Don't let your passion run beyond your love; if you want something, keep yourself going so you can see it through. And it is hard to rest, and it is hard to make it easy, and then I make it easy, and I rest.
Being maintainer of this life is... it's a more than full-time job. Someday, maybe, I'll have a weekend.