On being … time to come out of hibernation?

By Ingrid Sapona

 For me, the title of each column is crucial. Sometimes the title comes quickly and feels inevitable. I love when that happens. Coming up with the title at the outset doesn’t necessarily mean the column writes itself, but it certainly helps keep me focused. At least half the time I start with one title but as I write, a better one – more accurate, more nuanced, more honest, cleverer, or whatever – comes to mind. And then there are times when I realize the truth of the title hinges on a simple question mark.

 Last week a B.C. ski resort’s surveillance cameras caught on video a grizzly bear coming out of its den after winter hibernation. Apparently, this bear has been using the same den on the resort property for 20+ years. Snout first, the grizzly climbed out into the spring snow and sunshine. That same day I heard that the cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin in Washington D.C. were near peak bloom already. And the very next day I saw a small boat under full sail here in Humber Bay – my backyard. I shivered thinking about the cold March wind pushing it along.

These signs of spring happen every year, of course, but this year they captured my attention in a way that doesn’t always happen. Maybe it was because they all happened within 48 hours. Maybe. But I think the real impact on me had to do with the fact they got me thinking about reawakening, renewal, and change – you know, those things the poets tell us spring is all about. And yes, those words immediately started tumbling through my mind for their On being… potential. 

The truth is, the past month or so I’ve felt on the verge of moving past a season in my life that started long before the winter that is just now giving way to spring. The season I’m talking about probably started with my mom’s death in January 2020. That was quickly followed by Covid lockdowns and social distancing. Then, in October 2020 a long-term contract I had with one company ended and in terms of work, I pretty much went into semi-retirement. And of course, 2021 was pretty much a reprise of 2020 in terms of Covid restrictions and limitations. All these things contributed to – and justified – a season of withdrawal for me.   

But don’t misunderstand. I truly enjoyed not having particular responsibilities or duties these past couple of years. I relished the simplicity of my life and delighted in the fact that most everything I need is within walking distance. I felt lucky that I have a sunny home and a new kitchen with a spacious pantry that allowed me to be creative, regardless of supply chain hiccups at local grocers. Nothing about the past few years was any kind of hardship for me. 

But lately, I’ve started to wonder what happened to the part of me that used to be creative, curious, and interested in doing things. It’s not that I’ve become lazy. I still rise at the crack of dawn and I have no trouble filling my days. I am definitely not bored. But, I feel boring – at least compared to how I used to be. For example, other than talking about world events, I seldom feel I have anything interesting to talk about. Mind you, I’m a good listener and I’ve often felt that some people turn to me to be – and feel – heard. So, I imagine that some friends haven’t even noticed a change in me. But I have. 

In trying to work through all this, I naturally turned to On being…. I figured all I needed to do was find the right word to describe what I’m feeling – the right title – and the spell would be broken and the old me would return. But none of the words that have come to mind – ennui, uninspired, inertia, or even unmotivated – truly describe what I’m struggling with right now. That was its own frustration… 

But, as it happens, writing this column has helped me realize something very useful: words alone won’t re-awaken my curiosity. Indeed, what I now understand is that I need to take my cue from that grizzly. I need to poke my nose out and crawl back into the world. Maybe if I start rooting around, something’ll catch my interest or spark my imagination. Here’s hoping… and here’s to spring! 

© 2022 Ingrid Sapona


Post a Comment

<< Home