when i was little, we would sometimes catch snippets of ‘the nutcracker’ ballet on TV (go, public broadcasting!). the only thing i really remember about it was the dance of the sugarplum fairies, and the constant feeling of being very perplexed about what a sugarplum was, but knowing- just knowing– that it must be something very very special to have a whole fancy ballet named after it. i couldn’t put together what the dance movements had to do with sugarplums or fairies or christmas or scary soldiers, but i always felt like i had been privy to an important secret after watching the ballet.

as the years went by, i never did manage to figure out what exactly a sugarplum was, but in my imagination, it was always a fanciful thing. it belonged on a king’s table, and it would be stacked with other delectable things. it was always somewhat magical- a vaguely sugar-coated something that was maybe a fruit or maybe a candy, but for sure an amazing treat. if i ever had the chance to try one, i probably would have said no, because i don’t know if the real thing could have lived up to my visions of it. which is probably also the reason that in the days of google and instant information i still haven’t looked it up: because some things are better left to dreams.

but this sugarplum- the one of my imagination- is a perfect metaphor for the feeling i get when something wonderful is just outside of my conscious understanding. i think we all have moments like this, where we can almost touch greatness, but not quite. it is right there on the periphery of our minds or our lives or our selves or our relationships- and although we can strain or fight or stretch, it stays just outside of our reach. sometimes this is so frustrating, but sometimes it is equally beautiful to me.

because it means i am so so close. it means i am within striking distance. it means there is only a mist between me and delight.

this morning i went outside to feed the one remaining chicken. this was quite a feat, since even though it’s been over a week since i was in the hospital i am still not back to my old self. i am having a more difficult time than i thought i would bouncing back, and i am trying to not be overly hard on myself for doing a lot of laying around. but this morning i went outside and the air smelled amazing. it was clear and fresh and promising.

isn’t that a weird thing to say about air? of course it is promising. it promises that if you suck it in, you won’t die. you breathe it and you live. that’s quite a lofty promise, and air is full of it, every single moment of every day! (which, incidentally, we almost never pay attention to…) so here i was, surrounded by this glorious air, and it was even better than normal! it was like sugarplum air 🙂

so what does that mean for me? it means that i felt like something good was coming. it felt like i was okay. it felt like weight came off me. it felt like the world smiled at me. it felt feels like i should try 10 million more times to tell you how it felt and i still won’t get it quite right because it was so uniquely touching to me and so uniquely uplifting. and because it was right there on the edge, instead of in clear focus in the middle, i can’t get it nailed down.

march is brain injury awareness month, and i have committed to myself that i would try to write something this month about that. but let this be a short introduction to the topic: as part of my own struggle with being brain injured, i have to continuously remind myself that the best i can do is the best i can do. as long as i can honestly say that i have put forth my best effort in something, i should be able to walk away clean afterward, without guilt or recriminations.

in life, we all have struggles and fears and challenges. we can choose to focus on those, or we can choose to look for the sugarplums. and even if we can’t be exactly precisely clear on why the sugarplums make us feel good (or what the heck they even are), we can just be happy in the moment. joy in this life can be so fleeting; i say grab it when you can!

and i wish you handfuls overflowing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!