I woke up today with an unusually troubled mind. Not sleeping well since the passing of my daughter’s classmate and all that brings up for me, having watched my own child and other children come close several times to that membrane that separates one side from the other. Seems so arbitrary which side any of us are on at any given moment, and why.
As I begin another 2-job cycle to work 60-hour weeks, an image came to me of an MC Escher painting with staircases that lead round to other staircases but never go anywhere, birds that fly into one another and then back again in contrasting color. I have tried to solve this conundrum again and again since my single parenting journey of the choice between having no money to do things I want to do or having no time to do things I want to do. I’ve searched local and distant jobs I qualify for, and they all would bring equal to my current income, except with the added costs of a commute and work clothes. Another option is taking a minimum wage job and letting the State help me support my child. I also attempted the more education route with a price tag of loans equivalent to my increase in pay if I worked and paid them off until age 75. So I stay with what I know. If I saw another way, I keep thinking I would take it. I am positive I am not alone in this conundrum. It’s what’s left of the American dream.
Common sense tells me if I want to have enough money to take my kiddo on a nearby vacation, take a yoga class, pay medical copays for self-care, go out to eat with friend or family without guilt for them picking up the tab, I need to work steadfastly and get through this year. Kiddo’s orthodontics are on the horizon of my reality this year, and I need to contribute as much as I can to this. Can I endure an entire year at 60 hours? Each year I think I can, and maybe this time will be different. Maybe this time I will find a way. Even if I only make it halfway, I still will have accomplished something toward my goals. This year, I will celebrate debt freedom for the first time since age 20!
Spirit Speaking: After walking kiddo to the school bus, meandering through an old logging trail in the woods, I saw something astounding. I have occasionally heard owls hoo-hoo-ing in the woods, but never have I seen what I did today. On a single tree, I heard and then saw a pair of giant great horned owls, one on a branch talking down to another, and on that same tree, 2 wood peckers climbing, climbing the trunk.
The fact these birds appeared in pairs and on the same tree in clear sight somehow made me feel reassured, less alone. Owls are symbols of death or bad omens for much of Asia and wisdom for much of the Western world. In France, the large eared owls I saw today represent wisdom while the ear-less owls carry the other meaning. I don’t speak owl, but I do know I have never in my life seen or heard what I did today and am glad I was there in that moment.