There was a shift. Sometime, when I was distracted, it seems someone snuck in and stole my words.
Once they were there, constantly bubbling under the surface. Words to describe my own unique life experience. Words narrating the world I find myself in, shaping it in my mind.
Usually, I am itchy and jumbly until I can sit down and get the words out. I am a steaming kettle on the stove and if I do not remove some of the excess I will bubble over everything, scalding all in my path with my verbosity.
Words. It’s how I work through and process the things I am feeling. Words said to me years ago I hold up to the light looking for another facet of their meaning. I gather, sift, and collect words and expressions to illustrate my limited human experience. Erasing and scratching out the words that don’t quite fit, like a dress you can’t pull down far enough. My empathic nature misses nothing when we are together and that shift of the eyes, that spike of energy, that subtle body language are transformed into the melody of words behind your words.
I am a sponge, sitting in a sea of words while in the company of others. Their turn of phrase or syntax pulling me along in a riptide. Visit family in Tennessee and within the hour my voice has a twang it never did before. Surround myself with my Michigan cousins and I am talking about Pop and how many inches of snow is forecasted. Spend time with my in-laws and I begin responding “right” to most things said to me. I soak up the words. I become a linguistic chameleon.
Yet, the words have left. They have not been bubbling under the surface and instead became a pot that will not boil. I watch and watch for a sign of rolling water. Is it the stress? The deaths? The exhaustion? What is over the water that stops it from boiling?
It is then I can sense it, the water cannot boil with no flame underneath. The flame has been extinguished.
Now the work begins. I have to pull the stove out and investigate the root of the problem. Why is the flame out? The problem will be internal, of that I am sure. I will need to gather a flashlight and supplies to head into the dark and try and discover where the misadventure lies.
I yearn for the words and the process, in much the way I imagine a seasick traveler longs for the certainty of the shore. I have a weathered eye out, and trust the stars will guide me back.