Archive for February, 2012

Still Shining

February 26, 2012

As my symptoms linger, shielding me from active participation out in the world, I ponder the natural world as it nears the end of this winter season. For the most part, it too lingers in what seems a dormant state.  To the passing eye some trees stand lifeless, gray and stark against the winter sky. Scraps of colorless remnants from another season cling to the mother plant and flutter as though recalling the dance of life. Everywhere one looks (except for the cultivated and tidied yards), dead branches felled by winter storms have begun the slow sure journey of dissimulation. Even as new life is finding its way, and a closer look shows promising glimpses of tender green, my eye still goes to the starkly beautiful decline of a dead pine branch – its cones illuminated by the wintry light. My heart embraces the last frail dance of acacia pods that have long since dropped their seeds. Even these, to me, still shine.

           What about me? To others, looking for an obvious and lively outward show of health – and a pleasing contribution to the interactive dance – my dance must seem to decline, must seem to reject the life they love to live. They do not see that I still shine, that the outward illness they bemoan as going on far too long is actually my winter dance. Here in my room, my bodily subsidence is allowing germination. Here in my stillness, I embrace the interior dance.  If my shine must be kept secret for a while, so be it. I know what I know and trust the light that illumines my current dance.

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Both Sides

February 17, 2012

I have been ill on and off since this year’s beginning. What seemed a simple cold in early January subsided and later became a worse cold involving a sinus infection and persistent bronchitis. Torturous coughing led to inflamed cartilage under my breasts and in my upper back. The pain made me to try to suppress my cough which caused the cough to be tight and unproductive. I have taken antibiotics (with acidophilus on the side) and extra strength Tylenol to lessen the pain. I have done breathing treatments on a nebulizer to help me breathe easier. As the cold symptoms lessened – and recovery seemed in sight – pain lingered in the rib area. I had to buy a special bra – a little nothing of a bra. I couldn’t bear any pressure in that area. I still can’t, for it has returned with a vengeance, as has a nice fresh cold with another sinus infection. A routine appointment on Monday with my gastroenterologist got me a Z-Pack, which I am half way through. I am cautiously hopeful.

 Through all of this there have been positive elements. The necessity of taking Music and Star to doggy camp has made space for my persnickety Sunny cat in my heart and next to my body. Affection has grown between the two of us, along with an understanding that we must make the most of this. Right now his warm kitty bulk is pressed against my leg, and I cannot be unaware of him. His is a beautiful, comforting, and mostly undemanding presence. We are companions for the duration of this illness, or until the rowdy, frequently noisy little dogs return and Sunny’s indignation makes him turn up his nose at my efforts to include him. He has made it clear that his love is conditional. “Me and you, babe…” is how he likes it.

So, my illness has made conditions ideal for my cat, and in some respects, I admit, for me. I have had space and time to let things unfold as they will: to lounge and read and doze in cat-like languor; to be gently creative by photographing Sunny in various positions and moods, sometimes including my feet since they are in proximity. And on better days, I have even heeded the call to begin a new project, setting up my laptop on a tray table on my bed and writing several vignettes remembering my mother. This means there will probably be a companion book to DANCING WITH MY FATHER. More healing for the whole life is envisioned as the vignettes slowly develop and emerge. In this way, surely the illness that has seemed a negative force can be viewed as positive indeed.  Distractions are kept at a minimum, and the one on one relationship is allowed to bloom. Meeoowrr…