PicturePhoto by Shena Tschofen on Flickr.

You’ve all seen a picture of it or done it: a person dipping a toe into the water to test its temperature. We do this when we’re uncertain whether to proceed with an intended action. That uncertainty arises from anticipated discomfort.

I feel that way about writing now.

I still have stories in my head, but, for the most part, they don’t stick. Like a flash of gold in a pan, the idea catches light then disappears never to be recaptured. I suppose I might take this as creativity beginning to bubble back up after its long hiatus. However, I don’t know whether it will rise and fill the well again or whether it will seep out, unable to overcome the drain.

So, I’m not writing stories. Not yet, anyway.

I am writing articles. For some weird reason, writing nonfiction doesn’t exhaust my mind like fiction now does. And I’m editing more and more: that’s the side of my freelance business I’ve been working on, building.

I miss writing stories. I miss that excitement, that enthusiasm, that pleasure.

It’s rather akin to how I miss riding. The past few years have not been kind to my equestrian enthusiasm. First, I retired my beloved Morgan mare. Then I made an incredibly poor decision in the purchase of a replacement horse. If you’ve read about my trials and travails with Diva, you know that bad history. (I did finally sell her in March.) Last year, I bought a kill pen pony, Teddy, who’s coming along, but is showing some undesirable attitude: he bucks. He hasn’t gone “bronco,” but he has begun the last two rides (short, easy rides at the walk) with a buck. This cannot continue.

Granted, I’m not spending nearly as much time with him as I ought. The enthusiasm just isn’t there. My friend Cindra has been tremendously helpful, practically injecting her enthusiasm into me by coming up to help me with him. A couple of other acquaintances have also offered, through Cindra, to assist with Teddy. I haven’t taken them up on the offer.

So, recovery goes slowly and grief lingers. Mother’s Day was difficult. My birthday was difficult. Father’s Day next month will be emotional. For us, this is a year of dismal firsts: the first of everything after Matthew’s death. It’s a year that just hurts even as I am reminded to be grateful for the blessings I do have.

Be patient with me. Healing from tragedy takes a long, long time.