I decided to try another approach today. Rather than to carry on as much as possible with life as usual -- to pick up, to drop off, to suck it up and go to that meeting, to teach, to go for a walk or to get to work on that garden since the sun is shining, or simply to make it to my chair in the living room where I spent the greater portion of last week -- I decided instead to stay in bed. Save potty breaks, rice-pillow reheats, two meals (sort of) and a midday shower, I've been here tucked in bed since last night.
From this spot, I've been silent, looking just beyond the door and our back porch, past a grove of swaying alders to a blue sky. Longing. Dreaming. All day, a steady stream of fresh spring air has blown away the stench of sick through the wide open doorway. Cherry blossoms blossom just outside my window, and a single daffodil blooms from a sprawling fern in the lawn. The late afternoon sun shone on my face and warmed my bed just before it set beneath towering pines.
I learned six new words today. I finished a book. And the last scoop of mint chip. And a half-eaten bag of cheddar crunchies. And I've made it three-quarters of the way through a second book. The latter is funny. Laugh-out loud, tear-streaked cheeks funny. F-bombs. Fresh air. A wide-open door. Thankfully.
To their bewilderment, my children returned home from school to find me in the same spot where they left me this morning. For a while this afternoon, they joined me in bed. From this bed, we reviewed spelling lists, our address and highlights from our respective days. The beautiful day eventually beckoned them, and upon their departure I pondered the words Maya misspelled: hospital, H-O-S-P-I-T-L-E. octopus, O-C-T-O-P-O-S.
Octopus. October. From this bed I considered the calendar and its months.
Does it strike anyone else as funny that October is the tenth month of the year? Does anyone else assign an intrinsic gender to each month? January: female. February: male. April, May, June, August: female. September through December, male, with the exception, of course: November. But then there is March and there is July, mostly female, but... hmmm, well?
I've pondered many other thoughts today. I'll spare you.
My stomach growls. My orange beanie is pulled low atop my 'fro. Beneath it, my head is hot and throbbing. My throat is sore, and it aches in my ears and my eyes. My shins hurt. Still. The flu drones on.
Paul and the kids have returned, and they can no longer stand the cold from my wide open door. It is freezing, Paul declared before he proceeded to chop kindling, start a fire and shut my door. The fire burns. My door is closed. My insides and my head ablaze.
Pots and pans and footsteps and voices now clamor and pad in my kitchen. I feel glad for the sounds and smells of their return. And I feel glad for my husband and his humor and his help. And for my dictionary and my library and its books. And for my laptop. And my kiddos and their stories and their homework. And for my door and its hinges and cool breezes. And even, I suppose, for the lasting view from this flu.
I love and I am loved. I have faith and health. I'm happily married. My kids are great. I live a simple life. I have a handful of really good friends. I have time and words and a job. I spend minimal energy with folks I don't care for. I can read, and I do. I have a roof over my head and access to clean water, heat, yoga and oatmeal.
So, why do I feel down?
I have been under the weather -- fighting something strong for the last few days; I think it is more than this flu.
Spring is around the corner, and with its imminent return, I've heard early birds sing and uncovered tiny budding blooms. Patches of sunshine and longer days are pushing through gray skies and long nights, yet thick clouds persist. These last few days, the rain has been heavy and hard. Not today though.
Paul is out of town and the kids are at school. I'm over-churched, I miss my sister and my friends. I miss my parents, my passion and my brother. My head is throbbing and my stomach hurts. I'm not teaching much any more -- I'm both glad and sad about it. I'm thirty-four and still unsure what I want to be when I grow up.
I'm settled in my favorite chair with my rice pillow, my laptop and my favorite blanket. My house is still. I feel warm. And tired. The season is changing. The world is shifting. As am I. So when the job goes away, the health fails, the body softens, the sky sobs and those whom I love are elsewhere... then what? When the earth quakes and markets crash and people die and marriages end, what then?
Every day can't be sunshine and knowing and being known. Sometimes it rains. Sometimes it fucking rains. And some days -- in spite of all the good -- I feel like crying too. So I do. And it helps.
And today, even though I'm unsettled and I don't feel well, I know my life is good.
"Inhabit the life you have chosen... What if this is exactly what you are supposed to be doing, because it is what you are doing? What if each nitty-gritty task is perfection itself and you keep missing it because you're looking for something else?"