The opposite of chosen dormancy is consciousness

The opposite of chosen dormancy is consciousness

Last week I had a good talk with myself as I rolled through the last mow of the season. The lines were straight and etched, and I want my imprint to stay on them until spring arrives. I hope it’s the last mow of the season because it was 28 blessed degrees this morning. I cut off a few perennials that persisted and noticed the green that still held on at the bottom of the stalks. Those stalks are kind of like me, stubborn and growing, not willing to go dormant for even one season. I walked through the garden and let my hands get dirty in the soil.

There’s a stubbornness that exists in those of us who want to roll over but won’t. I like things a certain way but struggle against the notion I shouldn’t get what I deserve — to acquiesce — going back and forth between giving in and standing firm. Do you ever feel people are looking at you from the ground up, judging every move you make, maybe taking a nugget of info they discovered and using it as a cudgel to beat you down?

I often talk to myself soothingly, reminding myself I am worthy no matter what I own, do, write or feel. My frame is solid, regal even, and I am as valid as the next person, with no one having power over me. I’m not talking myself into this mindset, just gently reminding. Then I let my spine unfurl.

The live-forever plants my mom gave me have new growth on them as we head toward December, and if they can persist in moving forward and not dying, so can I. This short life is nothing but a series of seasons that are fallow and fertile. Maybe a short period of dormancy is called for, a reprieve or hibernation of sorts. In looking what stands ahead of me, that isn’t going to happen any time soon.

After our trip I relaxed into my home, setting about making her feel lived in again after almost five weeks. I puttered around and tended to my indoor plants, my cats, and swept the kitchen floor. I sat at my kitchen table and pondered decisions that needed made and answers that needed given.

I noticed an email notification slip in and knew instantly it was in regards to a recent column. Girding your loins was never a truer statement than when reading emails from people giving you opinions on your opinion. I answer most people who take the time to write me, and if I haven’t written back, it’s because Bible verses aren’t a weapon.

I was reminded yesterday how short life is once again when I got the news of the horrific bus accident involving Tusky Valley band students. My dear first cousin and her husband, the former long-term superintendent in the TV district, are not just relatives but close friends. Their son was on that bus, and I opened up my phone to text her with shaky fingers. She responded almost immediately, en route to the scene, telling me her son was OK. I let out my held breath, and as the day wore on, we discovered six souls wouldn’t be going home to bed that night.

There are new and old souls never going home all over this world tonight through no fault of their own. Let’s do what we can in the corners we’re given.

This life is so big and short and full of wonder. The decisions we must make should come from the center of us and be decided firmly — with our entire chests — because there is no time to do it any other way. People will love us, accuse us, deny us and embrace us. They will make us feel we don’t deserve nice things or that we haven’t done something the correct way.

They will try to shame us, and you know what? I don’t care.

I know who I am and what I believe. Many will tell us our lives are not our own, that our way doesn’t belong to us. I reject that. I will live my own life with abandon, weaving my way through foreign terra and writing words that unsettle.

My front and back lawns have been put to bed for the winter. In their dormancy they will dream of lush, spring days, the clover and dandelion curling softly into the belly of the dirt until time immemorial shoos them upward. The leaves have all been blown, some tucked into the flower beds to give cover, some blown with wind into the nearest pasture.

I am blown like the wind, yet firm. I am unmovable.

Melissa Herrera is a published author and opinion columnist. She is a curator of vintage mugs and all things spooky, and her book, “TOÑO LIVES,” can be found at For inquiries, to purchase her book or anything else on your mind, email her at or find her in the thrift aisles.

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