At last we have found our way through to the marvelous month of March! Next to April, May, and June, this month has always been a favorite of mine, proof positive that all things are possible, including my survival of another winter. Surprisingly, these past weeks did not prove to be totally unbearable, at least not the four weeks of February. I had signed up for Word Press’ Blogging U course, Writing 201: Poetry and had great fun writing poems (sic) in response to the daily prompts, forms, and devises. I do admit the continuous concentration on making verses rhyme did begin to get a bit tedious. By course’s end, my internal dialogue was beginning sounding like a bad Dr. Seuss book. But I do encourage anyone who enjoys playing with words to sign up for the class the next time it comes around. It proved, at least for me, to be a wonderful distraction from all things winter.
To celebrate my near completion of the course (I bailed on the last sonnet assignment), I thought I’d entertain February on its final day by taking my rhyme obsessed brain back to the open spaces of the nearby wildlife refuge. The beauty of winter’s remnants in the wetlands was awe inspiring. Water fowl were conspicuously absent, with the exception of a few hearty pintail ducks, but that only served to further underscore the stilling silence of the wide white horizons that stretched out from the sanctuary. I have got to give credit where credit is due: February was doing an exceptional job of prettying up creation along the back bays yesterday. Despite the barren stillness, or maybe because of it, the rhymes started to settle themselves down and my thoughts began to clear.
February had been so preoccupied with poetry, that the 21st of the month slipped by nearly unnoticed and certainly without fanfare. The 21st was, you see, my six-month soberversary. I picked up my six month chip at a meeting and the folks in the room clapped appropriately, but it hardly seemed that big of a deal in all other corners of my life. A number of sober bloggers write at great length in these pages of how wonderful their lives are now that they’ve given up the booze. I cannot say I am finding the same cause for celebration, at least not yet. It is a gift to sleep and wake each day feeling human and alive; and I am enjoying the buoyancy of not being weighed down with remorse for things said and done the night before, but, all in all, I’m still spending much of my time trying to piece together some semblance of a life.
I’m not a pastor anymore, so that has pretty much has annihilated whole chunks of my previous identity. It is no longer of consequence that I am an alumnus of a seminary, nor does maintaining prior colleagues as friends on Facebook seem to serve any real purpose. Here I am, well into middle age, entertaining what I fear may be sparse possibilities for what I want to be when I grow up. My mother always told me that I could be and do anything, so I try not to let my past failings and present health challenges curtail my considerations, but it is still very, very hard. Sober or not, I will forever be pickled. The brine has managed to affect a permanent ontological change in the composition of my personhood. No matter what path I carve into the future, I will have always come from here and here will forever be a place of great humiliation and regret.
I suppose, not unlike the back bays in February, there is beauty to be found in any landscape, no matter how barren. And I am also acutely aware that being able to forgive myself will be necessary as I navigate my way through these remaining patches of winter. Since poetry managed to so swiftly ferry me through frosty days of February, I think photography might coax me deeper into the promises of spring. I signed up for Photography 101 and even though I’ll only be using my phone to capture pictures for the class, I know the challenges will keep my head up and my eyes open throughout the month of March. Be warned, there will be some less than perfect pictures scattered throughout my upcoming posts. But like everything else that creeps into this blog, they too will be windows into my journey and I remain profoundly grateful for each and every one of you who so graciously tags along.