Is Oregon the viral-respiratory-crud capital of the world, or is it just me? One week ago, in a warm climate, I was vibrant and healthy. Now I’m swimming in germ stew again, blowing my nose and looking into another damp unresponsive day. My sister, Kristen lives in upstate New York and is excited because enough snow has gone for her to find the compost pile again. I would hang myself if I lived there.
The idea of travel was that it would make the winter seem shorter, but I fear it made my attitude worse. It was like giving a meal to a starving person and then pulling it away. “Okay, you can have that again in say…late June or July. How does that sound? That’s only four months away, then we’ll bring the dark again.” I count the minutes, the hours and the days. My friend Susan thinks a light box would help. But that would be like meditating on a cut out of a palm tree, a meager substitute.
Being sick yet again makes my life quiet and the hours slow, allowing me to listen to the language of the land. The butterfly bush spikes upward looking for spring, still dressed in last years dried blossoms. It carries endless optimism. The dogwood is covered with so much moss it looks like a specially fashioned garment, but the evergreens don’t change. They just sway in the breeze, drop some cones and make shelter for the deer, coyotes and raccoons that pass below. A stray snowflake moves past the window but is uncommitted. Then there is the sound of the rain, the unrelenting sound of the rain, like the ticking of many clocks. I put a teaspoon of local honey in my mouth to sweeten my day, as I grab more hot tea and think of the library books I can check out to help pass the hours until my body heals and I am not as dark as the sky or as grumpy as my age. I give my thoughts to the wind, the water, the stones and the witch hazel that blossoms in yellow outside my front door. And they reflect it all back, holding me like I belong here and I guess for now I do.
Everything is wet and brown and moss green. The birds are busy on the feeder and that single snowflake has found some friends. I have nothing to say but I’m saying it anyway, because if I don’t write, I’ll concentrate on blowing my nose and desperately missing the sun that so recently kissed my face. I send my letter into silence before transforming my home into an office and my frown into a smile.