The Year of Movement

My garage door won’t close. When I lower it automatically, the bottom hits the concrete of our driveway raised by frost heave and sensing obstruction, heads back up. If I don’t pay attention closely enough, I might drive away with my house gaping to the world, my interior exposed for scrutiny.

Like some kind of door wrangler, I’ve become adept at hitting my opener at the precise moment to keep the door down and the seal as tight as possible. We’ve stuffed towels in gaps along the sides to prevent another polar vortex from bursting our pipes. And still, when I enter my garage, I feel a frigid breeze on the inside and realize how futile it is to deny the winds of change.

Not wanting to undo our elaborate barricades, the whole family’s been stuck for days. Our cars are imprisoned in the so-called protection of our attached garage, and it’s too dangerously cold to walk anywhere. We each have our own way of dealing with solitary confinement. I look out my dirty windows and judge what goes on outside through the customary glass and filters. Weather forecasts grow bleaker each time I obsessively check my smartphone and supposed friends on impersonal social networks thank lucky stars that their “reality” isn’t mine.

Even a large batch of silly robins who never left are stuck, hunkered down in windbreaks with their pale red breasts puffed out and deathly quiet, hoping for a whiff of spring. Their presence in January mocks my sense of timing. What am I waiting for? Vocation, health, dreams and dinner choices — all glued in frozen molasses to my fears of what might be.

Reflected in the grimy winter window, I recognize my parents’ and grandparents’ reluctance to leave their cold misery for unknown sunnier climes, and realize I am hovering perilously close to that ice age of stagnation.

So, my word for 2014 is MOVEMENT. It starts right now. First, I clean the windows. Then, I develop an exit strategy from all the mental impediments I have carefully crafted over past decades. Road map in hand (my mind doesn’t hear the voices of GPS), I can finally pull away the insulating tape and draft guards against an overactive imagination, freeing my way out to a different future with no guarantees.

And I will not look back to see if the door has reopened or the latch didn’t quite catch, revealing shameful tales of entrapment inside my old interiors. Perhaps someone else can learn from the fearful furniture and ruined reservations I’ve left behind.

6 thoughts on “The Year of Movement

  1. Shirah

    Thank you. Now I understand why my own garage refuses to close at night. You have robins. I have one very sad, solitary cardinal that has been, for weeks now, struggling to gain entry to my upstairs windows. S/he’s become my morning alarm clock with all the cheeps and knocking noises, tail feathers crinkled and askew. It makes me terribly sad to see this daily, grim struggle to gain entry. Does the bird see a reflection of itself? What keeps it thrusting itself, over and over, at my window?

  2. I have read this several times and can only say my thanks. Every image in this, from robins to frozen molasses, is one more underline to your resolve and challenge: fears of what might be, future with no guarantees, what am I waiting for? and –the best — how futile it is to deny the winds of change. It is everything I needed to hear. So glad you were brave enough to write it!

    Shirah’s crashing bird is such fine counterpoint. Obviously a writer. No one else would keep trying to fly into that window, especially if it sees itself there. Yep, a writer.

    If there were ever a region where a GPS would come in handy, it’s that territory of Self.

    Your photos are wonderful. I think the whole of it — photos and text — doesn’t just have strength; I think it gives strength.

    1. Yes, I agree that Shirah’s bird is definitely a writer! Thank you, as always, for your support. It means so much. And I am very ready to move ahead, despite the weather conditions. I love the idea of GPS for the territory of Self.

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