How do you pick out the path amid the chaos?
This time of year is always chaotic in an academic family. We started back to school in mid-August, and the pace hasn’t let up. A month later, deep into September, I find myself gasping for breath, trying to keep my head above water long enough to sight land. At the end of the day, I’m often left feeling hollowed-out and thin enough for the light to shine through.
On Sunday, I hosted my ninth in-house creative retreat. Hanging out with other creative peeps is good medicine for my soul in times like these, and there is something about visual artists in particular that helps me look at the world, and my work, in fresh and wondrous ways. Ella wandered the woods gathering natural treasures for her one-of-a-kind creations (imagine a craft fair in Lothlorien and you will have some idea of what she does). Sarah painted the landscape from the hilltop. It was all very artsy and lovely and heart-swellingly serene. And then the uninvited guest showed up.
I spent much of the day, and the ensuing few days, in entertaining this surprise visitor before we figured out where she belonged and got her back there. In the meantime, I did a LOT of poop-scooping and discovered that to a pig, a dismantled above-ground pool is a super-nifty sleeping bag. My husband discovered what it is like to wrestle a 100+ pound pig into the back of a pickup and gained a healthy respect for those dudes in the Middle Ages who hunted boar.
Arguably the most exciting moment of the week for me was a full request from an agent for a manuscript I have only just put out into the query world. Outside of teaching and caring for kiddos and critters, I’ve spent every waking moment getting my submission ready. I sent it off yesterday evening. To the wrong email address. And then to the right one. Fingers and piggy-toes crossed.
It’s felt like a month of “if it can go wrong it will.” Or “if it can possibly be more chaotic it will.” It’s been the kind of month where I get to school and realize that my shoe is broken. Heel-coming-halfway-off-so-you-can-hardly-walk broken. Gorilla-Glue-your-shoe-and-clamp-it-under-the-weight-of-your-desk-during-your-planning-period broken.
It’s been a pig-in-the-yard, broken-shoe, crazy-massive-revision, overgrown-garden, hyperactive-dogs-who-really-need-a-walk, what-the-heck-is-for-supper kind of month. A Thursday-blog-post-dashed-off-on-Friday month.
But there is beauty even in this chaos.
I have learned that a pig is a lovely laundry companion. That Gorilla Glue is all it’s cracked up to be. That left to their own devices, my children will dismantle an entire playset. I have re-learned (I have to re-learn it every. single. time) the pleasures of revision. I have a new submission out in the world.
It’s going to be okay.
Deep peace of the snoring pig to you.