Thursday, January 31, 2008


What do you do when something scares you? Some people get big and mean. Their hackles stand up and they start growling. Others run away, like in the Monty Python movie.

My instinctual response is to freeze up, the proverbial deer in the headlights syndrome. I try to be invisible, a difficult task since in person I tend to be kind of ... what's the right word? Vivid. Yes I'm vivid energetically and visually, too, which means my attempts to become invisible are clumsy and ineffective.

Sometimes I get so scared that I freeze solid, like the earth during the 'dead' of winter, like the tin woodsman in The Wizard of Oz. I don't move a muscle for years at a time after a big scare.

One of my great teachers/benefactors told me that at this time of year, the Feast of St. Bridgid, also Groundhog Day, Candlemas (probably there are other names for this moment inbetween seasons), the sun cracks the ice in the heart of the earth to remind her that spring is on its way. I'm pretty sure that's why the tradition of watching for the groundhog's shadow is so enduring. Who doesn't want to sense the coming of spring during the darkest and coldest days of the year?

I feel a little like the groundhog this year, awakening from an extended period in the deep freeze. I'm like Rip Van Winkle, waking up from a long sleep. God is squirting oil into my frozen joints. It hurts to move my arms and legs, but it's important to do so.

My move to Capitol Hill - now almost seven years ago - involved a scorching betrayal and a big scare around survival. I hunkered down and though I've been restless at various points during these past few years, I've stayed put, because being frozen made me feel safe.

All that is going to change right after my birthday. My work situation is shifting dramatically, a Very Good Thing. Who knows what will follow that? Once an energy flow shifts, it tends to have an impact on all aspects of my life.

Though still frightened (it's part of my nature) things are moving, and I'm moving with them. It's about time!


d. chedwick bryant said...

this has got me thinking-- very interesting ...

another thought provoking post... you lead such an interesting life, and your photos reflect that too-- I see blue sky and bright sunlight in the top one and that's how my winter has been--mostly brilliantly bitter cold days, no snow. I may have to move myself...north.

Washington Cube said...

I usually brace myself and confront it.

Reya Mellicker said...

Yes, Ms. Cube, you are very brave, and determined, too.

Ched, move north? Gosh ... well as long as there's internet access wherever you go, OK??

dennis said...

Dennis slinks away quickly-- Dennis makes it look casual though.

Anonymous said...

Life is often so hectic that I have trouble finding the time to sleep. your post reminded me that I need yo reflect more. Hope all goes well for you in your new departure.

Dennis is a sage too.

Lee's River/Zlatovyek said...

reya, god must have pulled out the oil can for a few of us (what's the point in puttering around for the thing if it's just for one person, right?) six months after finishing my weaning off various meds, I'm like the green shoots along the riverbank where I live. Here's wishing you a really short period between Groundhog day and real spring in Washington D.C.

Reya Mellicker said...

Clarice, one of my favorite Gertrude Stein quotes is one in which she says that to be a genius means a person has to do so much sitting around and doing nothing. I've always loved that.

Hello Lee! "Modern" medicine has no mechanism in place for taking people off meds. The strategy is to prescribe more meds to counteract the meds a person is already taking. Bravo for finding your way out of that quagmire! Bravo!

kimy said...

wonderful post - so much to think about.

I love that image of 'the sun cracks the ice in the heart of the earth'

although there is just a bit of you in the top image, I can see what a vivid and beautiful person you are! definitely difficult to be invisible.

in thinking about my own response to things that scare me - do I flee or fight or freeze? I do it all - depends on 'the threat' - one constant though is my heart beats hard and before I do anything,I 'listen' to its song..... is it telling me flee, fight or freeze?

best for the dramatic shift in your situation..... hearing that it is a "Very Good Thing" is assuring! ;) xx

Steve said...

I'm sensing a real excitement here about your changing circumstances. That's GREAT! I can't wait to follow along! :)

Hannah said...

A colleague in Minnesota told me that they had an "icequake" at the lake, where the ice actually cracks and forms a giant crevice. How appropo!