Thursday, February 26, 2009

I would never budge till Spring crept over my windowsill.

Lately, I have been sleeping an average of fourteen hours a day. Some days it is closer to twelve. Yesterday it was closer to sixteen. Regardless, it is too much sleep.

I finally got in to my doctor and told her my concerns: I am sleeping as much as I slept when I was depressed, except I feel fine when I'm awake. I do not have much of an appetite, but I seem to be gaining weight.

My doctor's diagnosis: Hibernation. I have been hibernating. People do not hibernate. Squirrels hibernate.

Among the factors that have triggered this denning are:
  • endless Illinois winter darkness
  • cold that makes it painful to go outside
  • richness of filling winter food
  • side effects of medication
The nights are getting shorter, and the snow is turning to muck, so that bodes well for the environmental factors of my sleepiness. It is easier to exercise when I can breathe deeply without my lungs turning to ice. Tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, oranges and berries -- all my favorite spring-and-summer foods -- will be bright and edible, not like the bruised and mushy produce I passed over at the market today.

As for the anti-depressant, it is time to scale it back. I will be tapering off of Effexor, which I've taken for two years, and switching to the milder Cymbalta, which is a much more attractive name for a drug. It makes me think of Cymbeline, though I do not take that as an unequivically good sign, since there are several poisoning attempts in that play.

"Well Water"

What a girl called "the dailiness of life"
(Adding an errand to your errand. Saying,
"Since you're up ..." Making you a means to
A means to a means to) is well water
Pumped from an old well at the bottom of the world.
The pump you pump the water from is rusty
And hard to move and absurd, a squirrel-wheel
A sick squirrel turns slowly, through the sunny
Inexorable hours. And yet sometimes
The wheel turns of its own weight, the rusty
Pump pumps over your sweating face the clear
Water, cold, so cold! you cup your hands
And gulp from them the dailiness of life.

- Randall Jarrell

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Icicles falling in the dark

Yesterday, the thermometer showed almost forty degrees. I felt like I should be in shorts or a dress.

Last night I stayed up trying to tell the difference between a draft of a poem and an outline of an essay. According to my poet-friends, the line break is what distinguishes poetry from prose, but outlines have line breaks, too.

While I tried to puzzle this out, there was a crash. Then another. Then another. It sounded like the house was being shelled, like I should wake up the girls and sandbag us all into the basement.

It was the icicles falling off the roof. Huge icicles, as big around as my arm, and sharp at the ends in the way that icicles typically are. They had time to get that big and terrifying during the coldest week I can ever remember.

So, the Sun, thanks for coming. I really appreciate it. But you pissed off Winter, and now someone could get impaled. Really, we should coordinate this better.


But it's so hard to dance that way
When it's cold and there's no music

Well, your old hometown's so far away
But inside your head there's a record that's playing
A song called hold on.