“If you go slowly enough, six or seven months is an eternity—if you let it be—if you forget old things, and learn new ones. Even a week can last forever.”
Rick Bass, Winter

"In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."
Albert Camus

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day 91: Sick Daze

On Monday, late morning, while I was writing, I got sick.  Down-on-my knees sick, not-able-to-hold-down-anything-including-water sick, room is too hot and too cold at once sick, arms-and-legs-feel-like-they-were-in-a brawl sick.  I was so surprised.  This rarely happens to me.  So I did the only thing I could do, under the circumstances.  I took to my bed.

I used to love sick days as a child.  If I could hold a book, and the room would stay still, I would read for hours.  But this wasn't one of those sick days.  I couldn't read, I couldn't listen to stories on my I-Pod, and I couldn't watch movies on Net-Flix.  All I could do was lie perfectly still and close my eyes.  But I couldn't sleep either.

I now understand why doing nothing is really hard.  Doing nothing means just being there, a blob in the void, with nothing but your thoughts and your corporeal essence to keep you occupied.  When I talk about having a lazy day, it involves bringing tea to the bed and reading a book cover to cover while the laundry is going and maybe a chicken is roasting in the oven (it's a really good sign that I can bring up food now; I must be getting better) and there will still be a dog walk and I'll still do the dishes and I'll still probably write a few new pages of the novel and do a post and answer my e-mail.

Yesterday I couldn't answer the phone when it rang.  It would have involved getting out of bed, which would have meant moving my stomach.

I had to skip the dog walk.  This really distressed me.  I wanted to call around to see if a friend could do it, but again, that would have involved standing up.  My husband had a milder version of this flu and he was able to go outside and stand in place, so he took Zoe out for a while in our yard instead of the afternoon walk.  "She wasn't happy about it," he said.  "She definitely felt cheated, but she made the best of it."

Today I can eat a little.  I've had an apple and a banana and some crackers, and to cheer myself up, I watched a Downton Abbey episode (the very first one, from Season 1).  I took Zoe out at midday into the yard, and we sat together in the snow looking at each other and blinking under sunlight that was so bright it was hard to see.  Then she found a buried toy, a little fox that makes a chirping sound, or did before it got buried in snow, and she threw up her head and gave me her throatiest "woof, woof" so that I would throw it for her and she could catch it and then run into the bushes so I couldn't get it back.  She had to remind me how to play, again, but I did catch on fairly well after the tutorial.

Hello, feet in boots.  Hello, snow.  Hello, blue sky.  Reacquainting oneself with the world again after a bout of cave-dwelling is always a strange and hypnotizing experience.

This river sparkles like thousands of little beads of glass. 

I understand now why the dog goes into these trances whenever she goes outside.

It's new to her every time.  No matter how beloved and familiar, there are still new smells, different creatures unearthed as the snow melts and the hard grass thaws, but winter hangs on like a loyal old friend.


  1. Hope you're all better soon, Natalia!

  2. Hi Brenda! Thanks so much! Sounds like you had a lovely birthday and AWP visit!