making sense of my life

lesserury-woman-at-writing-desk
“Woman at Writing Desk” by Lesser Ury

If I could, I would always work in silence and obscurity, and let my efforts be known by their results.
~ Charlotte Brontë
(The Life of Charlotte Brontë)

I’ve acquired many labels in my sixty years: highly sensitive person, introvert, obsessive-compulsive, painfully shy, homebody, bookworm, social phobia, agoraphobia, chronic depression, chronic migraine, chronic anxiety. But none of them got to the crux of the matter more definitively than autism.

Feeling like an odd-duck for all of my life I started suspecting autism (or Asperger’s syndrome) a few years ago. Little hints in the occasional magazine article. (Caring for elderly relatives for most of my adult life I’ve spent countless hours in medical and hospital waiting rooms reading magazines.) But last October I read an autobiography written by someone who had been been “diagnosed” late in life. His experience compelled me to read a few more books on the subject. And then a few more. My curiosity finally led me to consult with a neuropsychologist who confirmed my suspicions in December, one month shy of my 60th birthday.

Talk about a paradigm shift! The news actually came as a huge relief. So many things about my life until now are finally making sense.

It can be harrowing to see life through the surreal lenses that warp and tangle and convolute the most simple of activities; activities that the neurologically typical consider ordinary, things like shopping and driving and studying and keeping a job and paying bills and visiting with friends. It can be sad to find that no matter how deeply committed the effort, tenuous results may be all that follow.
~ Liane Holliday Willey
(Pretending to Be Normal: Living with Asperger’s Syndrome)

Reading the above quote for the first time deeply resonated with me. I’ve often tried to figure out how most people can simply hop in the car and run out to the store. For me it is a major and exhausting expedition that needs careful preparation and planning and a lot of recovery time afterwards. I’ve never been able to explain why this is to anyone — and still can’t. For me, so many things don’t respond to the ‘practice makes perfect’ philosophy. Now I know why. Now I can make the allowances I need without feeling so badly about it.

No doubt I will be writing more about this astonishing discovery in the coming months.

hanging garden of bottle gourds

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9.25.16 ~ Holmberg Orchards ~ Gales Ferry, Connecticut

As we wandered around a corn maze on a perfect autumn day, we came upon an enchanting gourd tunnel.

Gourds are natural born climbers. They seek out anything they can reach to climb closer to the sun. They grow so quickly it can become a daily task to move the vines away from some places you don’t want them to climb on. And once a tendril gets itself wound around a hold nothing short of breaking the tendril off the vine will get the little curlicue to let go. Not even the death of the vine will loosen their grip much.
~ Karen Hundt-Brown
(American Gourd Society)

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9.25.16 ~ Holmberg Orchards ~ Gales Ferry, Connecticut

While I looked, my inner self moved; my spirit shook its always-fettered wings half loose; I had a sudden feeling as if I, who never yet truly lived, were at last about to taste life: in that morning my soul grew as fast as Jonah’s gourd.
~ Charlotte Brontë
(Villette)

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9.25.16 ~ Holmberg Orchards ~ Gales Ferry, Connecticut

Yet poetry, though the last and finest result, is a natural fruit. As naturally as the oak bears an acorn, and the vine a gourd, man bears a poem, either spoken or done.
~ Henry David Thoreau
(A Week on the Concord & Merrimack Rivers)

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9.25.16 ~ Holmberg Orchards ~ Gales Ferry, Connecticut

Jane Eyre

4.9.11 ~ Madison, Connecticut
4.9.11 ~ Madison, Connecticut

Tim was on call last night so I didn’t think we’d be going anywhere today, but he wasn’t called too often and he got enough sleep, so we took a little trip to Madison, which is a 45-minute drive from here. I badly wanted to see Jane Eyre and the only place it is showing around here is the Madison Art Cinema.

4.9.11 ~ Madison, Connecticut
4.9.11 ~ Madison, Connecticut

We stopped at When Pigs Fly for brunch and then braved I-95 southbound to reach our destination. We usually wait for movies to become available on Netflix, but we were told the cinematography was amazing in this one, so off we went and I was not disappointed.

After the movie we strolled around the center of town and photographed some of the sculptures. The weather was lovely so we got some ice cream, sat in the car, and watched a squirrel busily foraging for food as we enjoyed our treat. We discussed the various versions of the film we have seen.

Fortunately for me I had read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, and all her other books, long before seeing any of the film versions. The story is so long it is difficult to tell in the space of a two-hour movie. For this 2011 version, directed by Cary Fukunaga, I felt the most important parts of the story were included and I actually liked the way it was told with flashbacks.

My favorite production is the 1983 BBC television mini-series of Jane Eyre. I bought it on two video tapes and wore them out just in time to replace them with the new DVD. It follows most of the book and was great to watch in the winter when I had four hours to curl up with a cup of tea and a blanket…

When I went to see the 1996 version, directed by Franco Zeffirelli, I remember being disappointed because it didn’t cover all that I thought it should. But that was about fifteen years ago so perhaps I should give it a fresh try.

The 1944 version with Orson Welles was terrible, in my humble opinion. I found Welles’ portrayal of Rochester about as frightening as it gets. It was like a melodramatic horror movie and not a deep and moving love story. But then I’m highly sensitive and I’m sure there are others who didn’t feel as repulsed as I did.

But I think all the versions I’ve seen have had the heartfelt words that Jane Eyre uttered to Edward Rochester, which sum up what I feel is the main message of the story:

Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! I have as much soul as you, and full as much heart! … I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh; it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal – as we are! … I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being, with an independent will; which I now exert to leave you.
~ Charlotte Brontë
(Jane Eyre)

To be released in October –  a graphic novel, Jane, by April Lindner.

fledging mourning doves

mourning dove family ~ source uncertain
mourning dove family ~ source uncertain

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me. I am a free human being with an independent will.
~ Charlotte Brontë
(Jane Eyre)

The above picture I found on the web… Had to use something to illustrate what I saw this morning!! There are a couple of mourning doves in our neighborhood who love my garden. (Or perhaps even me?) They are so curious and they will often look for seeds, coming very close to me, studying me while I’m weeding. When other folks are about they zip up to the power lines, their wings whistling, and then sit and watch to see what develops in the human world.

This morning when I opened the door and stepped outside there were four birds in the garden. As I was trying to figure out what the two smaller birds were I slowly realized that they must be baby mourning doves! And then the whole family took off together!

Wikipedia says that the squabs “stay nearby to be fed by their father for up to two weeks after fledging.” So, if I’m calculating correctly, they could be about three or four weeks old! We’ve been living here for 17 years and this is the first time I’ve noticed the little ones.

What a wonderful morning!!!