Skip to content

Beyond the window

March 3, 2010

Birdsong and sunshine fill my backyard in a rare spring coalescence, urging me to pass over all my usual reasons for not going outdoors. My usual reasons are not readily articulable, as they stem from anxieties not readily articulable.

Common sounds can unnerve me, but this time, my yard was quiet except for the wonderfully silly nasal honking of a nuthatch, songs of various sparrows, a jay’s cacophony, and the thrumming of a flicker. The yappy little dog next door was recently replaced by a lower-frequency model; and his keeper evidently found a cell phone carrier whose product works inside her house so that she is no longer obliged to broadcast all her calls out of doors in her Chicago bandstand voice.

Preparations were necessary for my backyard excursion. I cleaned up our old resin Adirondack chair and our older non-matching resin table. I made oolong tea in my Tetsubin teapot. I fetched a pot holder to use as a trivet, lest the hot cast iron might — horrors — scorch the ancient resin table that for so long stood next to the erstwhile chicken coop to support the birds’ water dispenser as I filled it. I even brought a book, although I cannot read without my book stand, and my book stand is not portable to the backyard.

By the time I scrubbed the table and chair and carried my provisions outside, my already throbbing back was a tad more wrenched, but I reckoned the sun would fix that. I walked all over the yard, and even up the hill to the upper terrace, where I noted two crocuses blooming; and I even finally looked upon the daffodils that for weeks I had seen only through the window.

There was no sunny spot out of my Cat’s line of sight from any number of windows. When he sees me outside, he yowls to come out. But once outside, he would eat grass and pick up Clostridium and get colitis and we would go to the emergency veterinary clinic and he would get Flagyl and a good time would be had by none. But he didn’t miss me this time. Perhaps he had a transitory episode of having his own life. Or the birds drowned him out.

It wracks my neck to read a book in my lap, and I can’t hold it open for very long without my hands aching. But encouraged by the sunshine, I opened Bettenson to some writings of Augustine, and enjoyed my oolong tea immensely. Sunshine is most definitely flavor enhancing. Sunshine is also very mood enhancing.

The sun ducked behind a small cloud, returned, and retreated behind another. I read four pages of Augustine before the sun finally arced over the roof to the street side of the house. I finished my tea and felt tremendously accomplished to have been outdoors for no purposeful reason. Now too cold, I returned to my indoor sanctuary.

Perhaps it seems odd that anyone should chronicle such mundane events; after all, how much valor can it take to enter one’s own backyard? I can’t begin to tell you. Depression and anxiety just happen. They frequently co-occur, and the loop can become a noose. What do I have to be depressed about? I don’t know enough about the chemistry of chronic pain and its corollary, a sense of uselessness, to answer that. What makes me anxious? Too many questions. But I can tell you this: if you know someone who is assigned depression and anxiety as God’s means of sanctification, and if you don’t understand these things at all, then please do the charitable thing — the very thing folksinger Tom Lehrer told people who bemoan that they cannot communicate to do — shut up. Pray. For most of us, the sun always comes out again.

  1. March 3, 2010 8:56 pm

    Hi there

    It is almost 7am in South Africa and I thought I’d surf a few blogs. Found yours and must say, this is a beautiful entry. Keep it up and you can get there. Spring is on the way and it sounds like you have a beautiful garden to enjoy.

    I look forward to reading more and will add you to my blogroll.

    Take care :)

  2. Heidi permalink
    March 4, 2010 5:10 am

    Lauren, just a hug (( ))

  3. March 4, 2010 8:18 am

    Aphrael ,

    Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you return on one of my wittier days. :-) I see that you are a lady who is motivated by challenge, and I appreciate the information on your blog about OI.

    Heidi companera,

    Hug back. Always.


    You have always shown the greatest understanding and compassion, and I do appreciate your prayers. While I’m at it, I really must rave about that marvelous picture of Lily. I’ll write soon.

  4. March 4, 2010 8:19 am

    Will do, dear friend.

  5. March 4, 2010 11:41 pm

    I like you. I was going to make some funny remarks mocking what you have probably heard….but since you have already heard it all, and it is almost midnight and my wittiness is at a deep ebb, I will let it go… I hope to show you my children soon!

  6. March 8, 2010 6:29 pm

    Hello Lauren! I recently “found” your blog, and just spent some quality time wandering through it. Love it! I wanted to comment on this particular post, especially the part where you mentioned “chronicling mundane events.” Personally, hearing about other people’s daily lives are quite interesting to me, perhaps because my recent social life largely consists of interacting online. And oftentimes, the “mundane” is in reality the most generally interesting… everyday life is something all people can relate to.
    There, I’ve said what I thought, and I feel considerably less like a stalker. It’s my firm opinion that when one reads another’s blog, and plans on continuing to do so, one should comment on it.

  7. March 8, 2010 8:40 pm

    Emilie, always nice meeting you. :-)

    Sorry I couldn’t stay at your blog to comment back, but I can’t handle sound blogs! Tell your sister I made a one-time appearance at hers for the same reason. Blogging has to be a quiet activity for me — I have to dictate everything with voice recog software.

  8. Janet permalink
    April 4, 2010 3:58 pm


    Your writing is uniquely poignant and beautiful and funny, and always brings me much joy.

  9. Janet permalink
    April 4, 2010 8:18 pm


    Reading my comment, I think I should explain what I meant by joy, as I used that word in commenting on your post about depression and anxiety. I do NOT rejoice in your affliction, but in the beauty of the words and images you use to describe it. I joy also in your ability to describe emotions in a way that resonates with my own feelings and of course those of many. And the picture of you lolling in the daffodils with Coolidge glaring and howling, albeit drowned out by bird song, is priceless. Love, Janet

Comments are closed.