13 November 2013

Red Days

So I haven’t blogged in quite a while; I finished my degree in December, and moved across a few states in May, did a few freelance jobs, and have been trying to put as much elbow grease into my writing project as humanly possible.

I think I may not be as disciplined as I once was when it comes to writing—or perhaps I never was. The mental disciplines are sometimes so much harder than the physical disciplines, for all that that seems illogical on the surface. It is very difficult to drag myself out of the door on a cold day and make myself go on a run, or to make myself run faster than feels comfortable.

But it can be just as (weirdly) daunting to drag myself by the scruff of my neck and do the little things: call the dentist (my husband all but had to force me to do this at gunpoint), organize household things, and—per my current work—sit down at the computer and try to cause good, quality words to appear on the screen. Then make them better. Then find out the whole thing needs to be scrapped, and try again.

On a broader scale, I have been struggling, trying to navigate what I should be doing job-wise. Every time I even think about going forward with something, conflict and confusion arises.

So I think I may be having a rather long red day(s).

Have you ever seen a red day? Red days are intriguing to behold and deeply unpleasant to actually be in. Here is a picture of a red day in Iraq:


There is no fiddling with the color there---I have approximately zero skill with a camera—if anything, this does not do the redness justice. Truthfully, I always found red days fascinating despite everything.

The ground is dry. Everything is dry. The wind stirs up the dust until it fills the air. At first the air is just thick and dusty and unpleasant. But the dust gets stirred higher and it has a pinkish hue to it so the sky looks very red. The further the sun sinks throughout the day, the redder the sky becomes. Not great for long-range visibility, or for activity; you get the dust in your nose, mouth, eyes, pockets, blankets, food...everything.

Getting anything done (outside) on a red day is obviously not pleasant. I think it would be very easy to get lost if you were on unknown ground, and you get buckets of dust in your lungs just trying to go anywhere.

But red days don’t last forever. When they end, it’s amazing how suddenly clear and calm everything is. You find that the dust has found its way everywhere, even indoors. You shake the dust off of your sleeping bag, your pillow, and your clothes and you go do what you need to do.

So maybe the thing here is to be patient. I have to keep working on the red days, but it’s not easy, and I won’t always be able to see very far ahead. So be it. I do hope the dust settles soon, but I don't want to lose hope just because the air is thick and red just now. If I can be intrigued by the real live red days, maybe I can learn to be intrigued by this. There's mystery in it, and perseverance, and even great anticipation, if I can figure that part out.