I don't trust people who read self-help books. Or who watch Oprah. To be fair, perhaps these poor souls don't have the luxury of smart, sensible friends, as I do. Whenever I find myself wallowing in doubt, beating myself up or merely thinking too damn much, my friends usually set me straight.
Case in point: I woke up this morning at my parents' home on the Gulf coast of Florida. The sky was blue, the weather was warm, it was spring break. Where was I? Outside enjoying the sun? Appreciating my wonderful vacation time? Nope. I was inside, writing to Nora about how bothered I was that I hadn't felt like writing lately, and myriad other issues. Her response?
"Just dry your hair and go to the beach, Huth."
While I did not go to the beach until later, I did visit a state park. On the trail, I spotted a scrub jay. As one does with scrub jays (apparently), I stuck out my hand and clicked my tongue a bit. A jay swooped from the brush and landed on my hand while the other watched. After a minute or two, this jay flew off, and the other one swooped in to land on my head. Suddenly, my purpose was clear: I was a perch, an amiable resting spot, a way-station for the convenience of wildlife.
Actually, I felt quite peaceful. And useful.
Later, when I did make it to the beach the sun had just set, and the surf was rough. The wind had kicked up, and if I had been home, I would have said that the clouds looked like they held snow. The sunset-watchers had left, and the beach was empty. I stood there for a bit, holding my jacket close to me.
There is nothing like going to the beach, or having a large blue bird standing on your head, to provide perspective.