I spent the summer healing.

You all heard about the pulmonary guy, and the no-scars-in-my-lungs.

Because I wasn’t dying, I started exercising, and my back got kinda angry about that, so I went through a series of hoops to find out what has been wrong with my back for years. I’m thinking that my lower back has been screwing up my knees and my intestines, and trying to protect my lower back has been messing up just about everything above my waist, so all that is getting better.

And I am working on the dentist. I got my teeth cleaned, and 6 entire teeth don’t need work. So I dumped the anti-depressant, which is suppressing saliva production, and maybe I can go back to one cavity a year, instead of the 6 or 8 it would seem I’m getting. One novocaine-filled appointment down, 3 or 4 to go.

I didn’t work. I slept till I got up, and I took naps. I tried to do the customary guilt-tripping about not being a productive member of society and all that, and I volunteered at the women’s shelter, and I asked about jobs a couple of times, and I cleaned some bigger messes in my house and started re-arranging to suit our actual lives, but mostly I stopped.

I went through some of the boxes in the basement. I tried to sell my darkroom equipment. I threw out boxes of meaningless stuff. I got a sewing area roughly cleaned up, and then started a quilt top (for which I do not have all the material I need), and strew that around the basement.

I beat myself up. Why am I such a bad housekeeper? Why do I not put the salad in a bowl, and then cover it and put it in the refrigerator like normal people instead of just pouring it out of the bag and then throwing on what I’m in the mood for? Should I have left my ex-husband? Should I have broken up with Bigfoot? What could I have done to make it work? How can I leave Daughter home when I go away again? When I have this teeny-tiny toe-hold on a job that I might like? How can I justify taking small metals again, if I’m heading for an art history degree? Won’t I look stupid? How can I be so selfish? How can I leave and go back to school when it’s (just starting to) get better? What about this thing called Home?

And then I stopped at my ex-husband’s (used to be my) house, and it was a dump, and I realized that perhaps our world-views were not in anything resembling alignment. And I made a set of flip-cards (soon to be a book) of all the crap Bigfoot did, and a lot of those little put-downs that point to “he just doesn’t care.” I met up with Daughter’s community support people, and we worked on a plan for the next several months. I asked Daughter if she thought I should go to school mondays, wednesdays and fridays, so I could be home every night, and she couldn’t give me an answer, and I realized she doesn’t want to take any responsibility for my decision, or maybe something more subtle or ephemeral than that.

So I started crying. For about four days.

And then that voice that booms out when I’m not listening for it says, “The reason things are getting better is because you went back to school. If you keep going to school, things will keep getting better.”

I started piling up school supplies. I wish that voice would show up a little sooner.

Oh, yeah. Your picture.

Muslin, solar-dyed with black currants, just dumped out of the jar.