Today is August 22, 2012 the 235th day of the year.

I last reported (that’s a fairly glib use of the word) to you From This Ter­race on the 11th day of a newly minted year. Although I wrote with hon­esty about reach­ing a place where I wasn’t wait­ing, I think I must have been wait­ing, as we all do. It’s the human response to life’s chal­lenges and per­haps an indi­ca­tion of hope for change.

I’m not recant­ing. I’m con­fess­ing I couldn’t live up to the ide­al­ized higher self I thought I had come close to touch­ing in the heady days of early Jan­u­ary. At least I glimpsed what I thought I could achieve. Then many things col­lided at once. The temp­ta­tion to push aside what I felt wasn’t essen­tial over­took me. And silence ensued, and did it ever last. 224 days of it. The Stone Sage Lion began to roar at me and that’s quite a feat.

Silence is a writer’s best friend, or so I’ve been told. The great Russ­ian poet Anna Akhma­tova said that there was only one lux­ury a writer could not live with­out — the abil­ity to be absolutely alone. I’ve been mostly alone in the days of this year — if not always in actu­al­ity, a still soli­tude has taken up res­i­dence in my brain. It’s not felt like a lux­ury, but more a defeat occa­sioned by ill­ness and life choices. It’s made me think about silence and soli­tude. It’s made me remem­ber the writer and scholar Car­olyn Heil­brun who spoke about soli­tude being some­thing one craved only if one did not have to endure it all of the time.

Sum­mer is a silent time in my part of the world. Sup­press your laugh­ter. In fact, my Man­hat­tan neigh­bor­hood is quiet because peo­ple go away. They “do sum­mer” and I don’t “do sum­mer” any longer. Sum­mer was never my friend but I pre­tended we were inti­mates. Even­tu­ally, the pre­tense gave way to the real­ity of my life. I stopped being a truth-evader. Sum­mer and I do not get along well. We’re not a good match – I think of us as a con­stantly quar­rel­ing cou­ple. So rather than win­ter­ing through as Rilke com­mands in his son­net, I’ve sum­mered through. I’ve decided what’s essen­tial is to com­bine silence with con­nec­tions, even if those take the form of sus­tained email con­ver­sa­tions with friends. I still believe C.S. Lewis was right when he said that we read to know we are not alone…but I now add my foot­note to his com­ment … I think many of us write to know we are not alone. That is surely the case for me.

So, am I wait­ing for some­thing? Yes, I am. I am wait­ing to learn how to let go of extreme expec­ta­tions for myself that blind­side me to the small­est plea­sures of a day. Early this morn­ing, I was awak­ened by the sound of birds in the mid­dle of this com­pletely urban land­scape. They were rum­mag­ing through the terrace’s hang­ing flower boxes to see if by chance there was a tasty morsel for them to enjoy for break­fast. They were chat­ter­ing to each other, and to me.

From This Ter­race is Open…again…finally.

©Alida Brill/From This Ter­race 2012


Filed under Community, Friendship, Hope, Inspiration, Life, Seasons, This Moment, Time, Writers

8 Responses to YEAR 2: DAY 235: SUMMERING THROUGH

  1. Mary Wildavsky

    Dear Alida,
    I have been wait­ing for this post, ever since the remark­able and won­der­ful post of Day 11. And I kept think­ing “I must write”, and then “tomor­row”, and of course “tomor­row” never came. Aaron had a mantra (not orig­i­nal! but he used it often, espe­cially to me!) “Do it now.“
    So I am imme­di­ately, right now, writ­ing to say “Thank You”. Your words are inspir­ing.

  2. fromthisterrace

    How lovely to hear from you and how oddly perfect…today I was clear­ing out a drawer and found a lovely pic­ture of our Mary, taken when she was first in NYC with you and Aaron. thank you for read­ing. send­ing love. A.

  3. Alida! So glad to read your thought­ful words again.
    I feel we are almost con­stantly in touch by your fre­quent “likes” and com­ments on my posts which I have come to value above vir­tu­ally all oth­ers!
    You con­tinue to inspire with your courage and grace.
    I hope this is the begin­ning of a renais­sance for you and wish you all the health and hap­pi­ness you deserve.

  4. Ah, this was like a light sum­mer rain to read as I, too, am sum­mer­ing through. To read your elo­quent words is so sooth­ing, even though I feel the pain between the lines. Thank you for writ­ing to all of us.

  5. Bernadette Bucher

    Thank you , Alida, for resum­ing where you had left, as if it were yes­ter­day, an hour ago. Right now the cicadas fill the house with a full orches­tra echo­ing your morn­ing birds from the ter­race.

  6. I am glad to see your blog and look for­ward to many more now that sum­mer is about to leave us. Yes, I also pre­fer the fall months for energy, color, writ­ing, breath­ing. Florence

  7. Write to know you are alive. Indeed. And, listen–listen to the chirp­ing birds.

  8. Anne Laese

    Dear Dear Alida, it is so good to hear your words again. Unlike you I love the Sum­mer. I get in my gar­den and plant, and pull weeds and there in my gar­den I become closer to God, My Heav­enly Father than any where else on earth. I so admire your courage, your words and your strength. I love to read your beau­ti­ful words. I am not a very wordy per­son but I do love to read and I cer­tainly respect you for the tremen­dous job you do with words. Thanks so much for spend­ing your pre­cious time for our plea­sure.
    Keep on Keep’n On! Anne’

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