Friday, February 15, 2013


Day after winter day I've oozed around in the blahs. I don't know why I expected a gung-ho get-it-done energy to whisk in with the new year or soon after. Not what happened. My soggy matches won't light--no inspiration sparks have flared around here for weeks.

How did I get buried in this slow-poke malaise? Maybe I've tumbled into an unusually long creative mud season. Maybe not. Maybe I don't even care.

A lingering low-level flu? Some cunning (and deeply boring) form of ego-sabotage? None of my tools, insights or helpers were helping. I knew better than to beat myself up for feeling bad. I aspire to inner non-violence, even if I can't always practice the preach. But I sure wanted to slap myself (in the most enlightened way) and butt-kick out of this shrug fug somehow.

One sunny day during a thaw, I managed to get up and out for a walk around the block. Everything glittered wetly with snow melt.

On a tree near the corner, I saw a surprise: an enormous, slick slug with orange and brown striations on its back. How could it have come out this soon after the acutely cold weather we'd had? How bizarre that this jungle-sized slug should appear in my northern neighborhood in February.

As I peered at it, wondering if I dared trespass for a closer look, it morphed into a lump of bark. The shape, color and shine of moisture had made a convincing giant slug illusion.

Further along the sun flashed off something on the pavement that might have been a wet stick, but I swear it looked like another big slug, a skinnier one, maybe sliding across the street very, very slowly. Turned out to be half a pod fallen from a tree with bean-like dangling things. But I had to crouch and poke it to make sure.

Two Not-Slugs in a row. Huh.

A few steps later, it clicked: this was a waking dream sequence ripe for interpretation. I shifted identification and got the joke: I am not a slug! Even when I do such a convincing impersonation of sluggishness.

I felt relieved to try on this identity: Jude (Not-Slug) Spacks. I hadn't realized how personally I'd been taking my low mood, how ashamed I had been--of feeling ashamed? Useless? As if all lifeforms weren't astonishing, even the ones I might find a tad booger-like and repulsive. As if only perky, productive, quick-moving beings earn a right to belong here.

I felt a little more alive, blinking like a groggy creature waking from hibernation, with bad bed hair and morning breath.

I remembered greener times. 

I remember driving on languid country-road curves in the soft dusk of southern spring. I bit into a sandwich my sweetheart had made, frilled with lettuce she'd just picked from her garden and washed with sweet well water. I felt a squishy texture, and my lips and tongue went tingly-numb, just before the frenzy of spitting started. I'd bitten into a hidden slug!

You are what you, eat, right? 
Slug/Not-Slug, that's me. 
I'll answer to either.
Or, call me Slugger, why not?