It may be that when we no longer know what to do / we have come to our real work

December 13, 2012 – 12:40 pm

Simple dinner triumph: browned some butter and threw in sage and sliced zucchini, recipe topped with parmesan-seasoned chicken burger. It’s the home stretch of the fall semester, order and tomorrow I’ll return to Purdue for my last meetings, allergist clear out my apartment, turn in my revised exams, return my library books. There’s a constant quiet snip-snip-snip of ties cutting, obligations clearing, space emerging. What will I do with it?

In the meantime, I have 2 exams to revise, research to do, finances to puzzle out, funding opportunities to tackle. Tomorrow’s drive to Indiana starts at 6am. The parol beside me is blinking that it’s Christmas soon; I am dehydrated, my shoulders are slumping my spine into my hips, I’m still working on getting to a single pull-up. I haven’t figured out what implications ear-to-ear communication has on the efficacy of asymmetric directionality. I got a haircut yesterday that left my hair long; my cousin Megan and my mom both think it’s cute, I think it makes me look like a female version of my dad when he was in his twenties. A thick book on expert performance literature bristles with sticky note tags on the kitchen table, and I want to type up notes on that book before I return it to the library tomorrow. I note this all with a calm quietness I usually don’t have; when I slow down and breathe, I see how strange and jumbled my mind can sometimes be.

I am restless; I have been restless all day. Solitude will do that to me. I need to set up quality time with people; I need to learn how to deal with the twitchiness better. I need to learn how to see all the parts of my life together without mashing them into a mess that disorients me.

So I will get a glass of water, and I will stretch my spine, and I will put my plate into the dishwasher, and I will breathe and drink the water and then refill it and look at the exam questions I have left to answer, and I will do push-ups in between each one.

What am I choosing to do with the space I have, the space I’m gradually getting? Keep it as space, not fill it with rushing as I usually do. Learn to be still and quiet. That’s one direction I haven’t grown much in as of yet. I’m curious what’s going to happen.
Found this poem this morning, ampoule wanted to share. Sometimes when we look back, we find out that our struggles and our plateaus and the foggy places where we grappled with being lost were actually the ones that built us during the journey.

The Real Work
by Wendell Berry

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.

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