Impermanence

Hello, summertime. Deep, meandering thoughts from an artist who is managing kids and trying to make new art during the longest/shortest season of the year…


I know I’ve written about this before, but summer is so strange for me. It has always felt heavy and bittersweet, even as a child. My birthday is in the summer, so that was always a plus… Maybe it was the soupy air that gave the summer an oppressive feeling.


I remember listening to the locusts sing in the pines near my east Texas home, running barefoot through tall grasses while keeping a watch for snakes, hearing my mother’s call from the front stoop, seeing the pink and purple skies as the sun took its late evening bow. Coming into an air conditioned room from a day of playing in the woods and fields felt like nothing else. Unstructured days free for play and reading and occasional trips to the lake and the beach with family.


But there was always a nagging thought in the back of my mind that kept me from savoring that sultry evening air, sweet with the scent of fresh earth and incoming rain. The impermanence of it.


“She’s a worrier,” the adults in my life said of me. I was and I am, and I came from a long line of worriers. Now, I understand that the cause of that worry is a chemical imbalance of a neurodivergent person.


Life was simpler then, and I could get my dopamine and serotonin hits from simpler pleasures. As an adult, I look at my children and see both the good and bad traits they inherited from me. Worry, fear (or lack of, in some place where they may need it), stubbornness. Thoughtfulness, creativity, and appreciation for the little things. I manage my brain chemistry through meditation and medication (and therapy, but that doesn’t flow as well with the other two components).


Instead of staring into the trees and thinking, “I’m a child now, but I’m going to grow up and then I’m going to die and how much of the world will I miss?” I stare at my children and think, “I have a child now and they are growing up and what will I miss if I look away?”


We are so impermanent and fragile. That’s terrifying. But maybe that’s what makes life beautiful, too.


(Watching my fearless son head into the great wide open sea.)


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