Well, I’m back to life and living. I think. It’s been a challenging ten days. I would feel fine for a short while, and then I would just crash, my energy ebbing, leaving me stranded, stuck. Hmm. Sort of like a certain ship the world’s been watching for the past week. I’d lie there, thinking about how lazy I was, not getting anything done, not grading, just scrolling through Facebook and re-watching The Great British Baking Show. But my brain was foggy, too, and energy to think and process was also at a minimum.
I did manage some knitting and some mending while I was stuck in the Covid Canal, things that took only quiet movements, and little thought. That helped me to feel like I wasn’t completely out of commission. Isolation was hard, and I was feeling depressed and weepy by the last day. I had the erroneous idea that somehow walking out of isolation would mean I was suddenly well, as if it was the bedroom itself which was stealing my vim. Sunday was a hard hit with reality, realizing that getting out of isolation and getting well are two different things.
My doctor says I am one of those mysterious cases in which fatigue and exhaustion linger. No one knows quite why, but they do say that it tends to abate in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, I am going to school, keeping the teaching parts light, getting them writing and researching and reading. I’m back to school today with a really light schedule, trying to conserve energy, to rest as I am able. It does me good to see my students again. They’ve managed extremely well without me, of course.
My doctor says I’ll need to sort of recondition my body to maintain energy for longer periods, to listen to it when it says REST. I’ll also need to recondition my breathing and sense of smell, she says, to train my lungs to remember that they can take in enough air for a full breath, to train my olfactory sense to pick up various scents and aromas again.
I tried to go back into the world with the double mask again, but I am so short of breath that I am just wearing one surgical mask for now, and breathing is definitely easier than with two. I suppose I really don’t need to double mask since I have both vaccine and active antibodies. I’ve been doing it because I am an example to my students, and I want them to see it as normal.
1. Cat love
2. Being back at school. Monitoring my flagging energy, but energized by my students.
3. So much care from my circles of Beloveds.
4. Spring. The riot of trees breaking into bloom. Forsythia setting fire to everything.
5. Some hints of smell returning.
May we walk in Beauty!
“I do believe in an everyday sort of magic. . .the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we’re alone.”
—Charles de Lint
“My invitation to each of you—student, faculty, community member—is to find a story of someone who has made a change, small or large, whether the consequence was their life or their comfort, and I want you to share that story with at least one other person, something that inspires you to step beyond the boundaries of your courage into a new world beyond the measure you ever thought you could make.” —Kevin Ressler, in 2017 memorial for M. J. Sharp
“What you will see is love coming out of the trees, love coming out of the sky, love coming out of the light. You will perceive love from everything around you. This is the state of bliss.” ―Miguel Ruiz
“My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage.” ―Alice Hoffman
“Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”
—Jonathan Safran Foer
WHEN I AM AMONG THE TREES
by Mary Oliver from Thirst (Beacon Press)
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”