Wednesday, January 13, 2016

January 13: Sublimation, Daughter, Anxiety and Sadness, Ice to Steam

In a dry wind like this, snow and ice can pass directly into the air as a gas without having first melted to water.  This process is called sublimation; tonight the snow in the yard and the ice in the creek sublime . . .

It's a sudden change.  One moment, solid.  The next, vapor.  Sublimation.  It's nature moving in fast forward, like a time-lapse Keystone Cops movie.  An eruption from one state into the next.  Annie Dillard witnesses this phenomenon at Tinker Creek, and it makes her reflect on wind and mares and foals.  Genesis.  The generation of something new.

Most people do not deal well with sudden change.  Sudden change is a heart attack or house fire.  A stroke or a car wreck.  Sublimation, that immediate change of states, is not comfortable.  It doesn't give a person a chance to adjust or acclimate.  It's simply a step out of an airplane into a free fall.

Certain aspects of my life are sublimating.  My daughter, whom I thought was confident and well-adjusted, tells me that, for years, she's been struggling with anxiety and sadness.  She has turned from ice to steam before my eyes.  I'm not sure if this sublimation is the result of puberty and hormones, or something deeper.  A fissure of mental illness.  It frightens me a little bit.

My daughter is going to see a doctor to talk about being mist, a cloud that was once clear and crystalline and beautiful.  Perhaps she has always been fog, and I have simply chosen to see ice (or water).  I don't know.  It's a question that's been bothering me for days, and I'm not any closer to an answer than before.

Maybe Saint Marty needs to sublimate some Bailey's.  Turn it from liquid into happiness.

Waldo, sublimating from "where" to "how"...

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