A couple of times in my life, I have felt so claustrophobic I could scream. The first time was when I visited the pyramids in Egypt on my honeymoon, and my (first) new husband persuaded me to climb down a tiny black hole for a couple of feet and then crawl on my hands and knees in a tunnel, through the bowels of a pyramid until I arrived in a dark burial chamber in the middle of hell.(or how I imagine hell). I remember pushing the other tourists out the way and frantically scrambling until I saw the light….
The second time wasn’t so dramatic.
I just felt the weight of business, family drama and the overwhelming sense that however hard I worked, I never seemed to finish.
I was tired of petty squabbles, facebook rants and worrying about people whose default emotion is “offended”.
So instead of pulling the pin and throwing a great big “FUCK YOU” hand grenade, I decided to take off for a couple of days.
I ended up in a tiny internet-less, TV-less cabin in the middle of nowhere with my wise and creative sister-in-law, who tucked me up in a blanket on the porch and I sat, just watching the light change on the ocean that lapped just few feet away.
The only noise was a pair of loons, that laughed and bickered, and the crows that hopped onto the porch to check on me, once in awhile.
On the last day that I was there, I heard a gasp and a sigh and a minke whale huffed and puffed around the bay, feeding on krill.
He (or she) didn’t seem bothered by President Trump’s tweets, or the next door neighbour’s dump truck parked in our driveway, or the pile of paper on my desk.
The whale just did what generations of whales have done before, and hopefully (if we don’t completely fuck up the planet) what generations of whales will do from now on.
It was all I needed.
And then, as I drove home, with the window open – as Spring seems finally to have arrived – I remembered.
Two years sober.