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In My Own Little World

As a kid, I was accused of being in my own little world. I suppose I still am. If you can get lost in a book, flowers, a project, or a task, you know what I’m talking about. To some, it looks like you are wasting time.


There’s a way to not be in this world but still be here. It’s satisfying to have that place to go when the world seems negative or when the mind needs to rest.

For a week now, we’ve been aware that Baxter County, Arkansas, our county, is the second highest in the state regarding the second wave of the pandemic. We have no large city in our county! And yet, the numbers are doubling and escalating here. So, I started wearing a mask again.


My husband and I have had our shots, but we know people who are on ventilators and those who are vaccinated and still got COVID. Grateful they were light cases. I’m all about prevention when possible.


And yet…, I needed to go to town. At least I thought so at the time.


I stopped by my hairdresser’s because she was holding a product for me. And she was wearing her mask! I said, “Hooray! You’re wearing yours, too.”


“Yes,” she said. “I’m scared.”


“Smart girl,” I replied.


We were out of the basic foods at home, and I wanted fruit in the worst way. So, I justified going to Walmart. Not possible to avoid everybody in the store, but I kept space and did my best.


While there, I heard an outburst two aisles over. By the time I got to the end of my aisle, a distraught man, about 50 years old, with arms flying toward the ceiling, yelled out, “She ditched me! I can’t find her!” No one responded. (I think it’s safe to say we were in total shock.)


One minute later, a woman employee said, “Sir, you are scaring people. Sir, you need to settle down.”


I moved my cart to the detergent aisle. The man appeared at the end of that aisle and was confronting a boy, “Where is your mother?” He was no longer yelling, but not talking in a moderate tone either. The boy shrugged.


Two hours later, I was back home, exhausted.


I told my husband about my day, about Walmart, about the man. It helped to talk about it, to get it out of me.


Two more chores, and I was busted. I was done.


My husband had energy enough for evening phone calls. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. This night, I didn’t.


Dishes done, kitchen cleaned, I plucked and dead-headed petunias. Still, I felt restless and discontent.


I wonder how many of us experience this or something kin to it, when we’re distressed.


Next, I pulled out a book and read a chapter. I closed the book. Not the answer. Not tonight, not for me.


I picked up a pen and notebook, searched for a quiet place. I began, knowing the poem did not have to be any good. I just needed to write and whatever might come, I needed to let it come. Just write, I told myself.


Then, I looked through the window and wrote about my garden phlox. They are in their hey-day, their glory, their peak. I tried to find the right metaphors, the best descriptors. Time flew. I was having fun. I forgot the man in Walmart.

I know this might make no sense to people who do not write or read. But it helped me to get lost in my own world. There was no sense of time.


When I get lost there, something good happens. I slow down, I unwind, I let go of the troubles the world keeps telling me I have, I let go of worry and sad. Clocks stop for me in that world.


I don’t have to stay on top of everything all the time. To think otherwise is a lie. But I do need to do things that help me survive this stressful time we are living in.


Writing helps me do that.


My husband does not write. He reads. He says it slows him down. He says mowing slows the wheels in his head, too.

Just maybe, we all need something that slows us down. Something that’s healthy, of course.


It may be hammering nails, knitting, pulling grass, putting order inside a cabinet, playing a musical instrument, coloring, or playing with a dog. It may be digging in the dirt with a spade, simply moving one plant from one place to another. It needs to be fun work where judgment or criticism is not involved.


As children, we knew how to do this. We stacked blocks, played on the floor or on the bed with something. We cut and pasted on the table. Remember?


I recall playing in the evenings with brothers and sisters. I was the oldest sister. We’d make up games to play or act out stories we knew. Everyone was a character, even the youngest. We’d play away for hours. Time flew—or did it stop? Then it was time to get ready for bed.