Prairie Song

The next ten days string themselves together like sapphire beads on silk thread. No rain, clear skies, temps in the big 70’s-low 80’s range. Nights promise to be cooler, but at this time, it’s expected. Tomorrow officially brings in fall.  A touch of rain would be nice, but under the cloud of knowledge of what comes next we accept it with open arms.

Yesterday Oakley and I celebrated the day with a walk at a prairie preserve. I don’t know how many acres it is, but we can get a decent half-hour or so on the paths mowed through the waving high grasses. At this time of year, some of them are above my head. The long leggy stems support cluster of seeds that resemble the tips of fox tails. There was enough of a breeze to shake and sway them a bit, making them rattle.

The breeze in the grasses that reach my knees joined in with a whoosh. Down at their level, the small white daisies, tiny lavender flowers, and another plan with bright round sun-colored blossoms contributed the loudness of their colors to the mix.

Oakley sniffed the plants that had mounded themselves into huts for the small animals who spend their days scurrying away from hawks and the occasional eagle. Despite vigorous thrusts of his nose near the roots, he came up empty pawed.

Several depressions in the grass indicated where deer had settled in for the night.   The time draws near for the deer to find suitable mates. For a few more weeks, though, they stay hidden in the thickets surrounding the preserve, protecting this year’s fawns until the time comes to start on next year’s crop.

A flock of geese cut across the sky. They were quiet save for a couple of honks here and there. The diminishing sunlight has shown them that the seasons are changing, and the announcement of fall rode in quietly on their wings.

Hello. My Name is Fran and I’m an Adult with ADHD.

As in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, mixed inattentive and impulsive.

Let me back up. Christine Northrup, MD points out that midlife is a time to shed baggage, to evaluate what and who you need to take with you on the remainder of your journey in this world. Between Orion’s crossing five years ago, the upheaval around Hubby’s mom’s (unnecessarily) protracted passage, and an assortment of other issues, I knew the time had come to sort that out. I couldn’t do it by myself, so enter the Wise Woman.

One of the big issues: a pervasive feeling of failure or never being able to get my act together, both internally with concentration issues and externally with chronic organization problems, inability to wrap up projects, following through on the best of intentions and brightest ideas.

After yet another session expressing frustration over all of this, Wise Woman suggested a book: Women with ADHD by Sari Solden.

Ok. Bought the book. The eerie feeling of someone following me with a camera came over me. Problems spacing out, but labeled daydreaming? Yep. Wandering around the classroom in elementary school? Yep. Social awkwardness? Anxiety? Feeling hyper alert? Yep, yep, yep. Problems planning big projects and following through because I get overwhelmed? Heck to the yep.

That was before the sections on pervasive problems with cleaning and organizing.

The tasks ahead: get my days structured so I can be productive and work on psychic damage inflicted by the grownups who could not comprehend why someone as smart as I am couldn’t get it together and save the world singlehandedly.  If shaming, labeling, and calling someone “a waste of intelligence” worked, I would have three Nobel Prizes by now. In light of accepting the ADHD, I am prouder than ever of my MS in psych.

Medication is off the table. I have a long history of side effects with anything vaguely mood altering, so it’s not an option. I’m upping fish oil, DHA, and probiotics. And one or two small cups of coffee. That balances things out so I can concentrate. Most of the time.

However, the grownups were working on the best available information, even with accounting for the unnecessarily hurtful remarks. ADD/HD didn’t come on the scene as a diagnosis until the late ’70’s when I was getting ready to go to college. Even when I was in graduate school in the mid-’80’s, it was still believed that kids would grow out of it, and that boys were more prone to it.

Not so much. For some reason, boys are more likely to act out. Girls are more likely to internalize it with anxiety and concentration problems. The impulsivity in my case has more to do with not following no stinking directions, bad planning, and (as much as it kills me to admit it) making poor choices with portion sizes.

Still, there has been so much good from the ADHD. Really. It’s enabled me to create, to ask questions. It’s forced me to do it differently, but that’s ok. If I have to take five minute breaks every half- hour, I do it. I am much more productive that way. If I need to walk, I do so. It’s allowed me to step outside the boundaries. Scary, for me and my loved ones sometimes, but worth it.

If you or someone else struggles with these issues, please go to http:sarisolden.com or http://totallyadd.com. Both have great resources for you.

And remember, you are not the only one who travels along the highway to SQUIRREL!

A Certain Slant of Light

Oakley and I walked in the thick morning air today. I don’t think we’ll be back out except for running sanitary errands. It was still a good walk. We sat by the river for a while. He kept watch, guarding me from squirrels and chipmunks  while I meditated. Shafts of light flowed through the leaves, and light mist rose skyward through them.

The morning light holds a rose-gold color. In the evening, just at dusk, the deep gold light pours across the grass in the field behind the house. The earth and the sun have changed their relative angles to one another as they dance through the wheel of the year.

In spite of the levels of heat and humidity usually left behind in July, the signs and signals indicating autumn’s impending arrival unfold. There’s the light, of course. A handful of leaves experiment with red and yellow edging; a few have even made the leap and lie on their backs on the ground, staring up at the shortening rays of the sun.

Despite the discomfort, I’m having urges to bake, to freeze, to follow the lead of the squirrels and begin to put food away for the winter. No, not at 90. Maybe I’ll play in the kitchen next week when temperatures are slated to return to a reasonable level, but not today. It’s a good day for a lot of iced tea, but for soup and stew and having the oven on, not so much. The air conditioner has enough to contend with without the oven.

This weather, the yuck and the stick and the sweat, this will pass. I find comfort in knowing that it will not last forever. The slant of the light as it gilds the field is welcome to stay as long as it wants.