Digging For Fire

“Sometimes, two things are true at the same time. The world is grim and hilarious; the future is bright and unthinkable; you are sad, but you are dancing; you are home, but it is not the same.”

For weeks, as I tumbled this poetic truism over and over and over in my head, I thought it was a Beck quote. But it was New Yorker reporter Amanda Petrusich’s characterization of Beck’s music.

Either way, it really resonates with me. Because it’s been a struggle.

As what began as a brief window of closure, and has expanded to the likelihood of working from home for the rest of the year, most days (weather notwithstanding) are confoundingly gray: light and dark, epiphany and uncertainty, both swirling in equal measure.

I left New York City February 28, and ended my lease almost immediately. I spent weeks postponing then canceling work plans from Singapore to São Paulo. I grew a beard. Withdrew a bit. So much time alone, in my head, wrestling with a universe of unknowns ranging from illness and death to unemployment.

And then we moved.

Through all of it, I have let myself be cast about on the tide, drifting from fear to anxiety to bright bolts of joy: a party of blue jays, an after dinner walk, the way the light passes through the leaves.

Last Wednesday, I heard a voice clear as a bell: “Dig deeper,” it said.

Dig deeper.

I shaved the beard. I ditched the sweats. I ordered a standing desk. I ramped up my exercise. And began to buckle down.

Mostly, I feel the same. But sometimes, for just a moment, I feel grounded. Sometimes, when Mike Doughty is bumping in my father-in-law’s Tahoe, the windows are down, dusk has lit The Brandywine Valley in a warm glow, I can begin to see my way through.

I know I am blessed. And I am grateful.

And I know I am not alone in this. People are losing loved ones. Businesses are shuttered. And there is no end in sight.

The drift is potent. The undertow is real. And the only antidote is to dig deeper. Dig deeper. dig deeper.