It seems very fitting to be coming back/starting back into my writing on the first day of the first month of the New Year. Yes, it really has been since 1 December 2010 that I last wrote. I really wanted to write yesterday. It was warm enough in the lanai, after a bit of a lie-in, to do my quiet time outside for the first time in a month. Florida, the “Sunshine State”, has been rather stubborn in following last winter’s cold trend. Actually the whole country has been ridiculously frigid for the month of December, with crazy storms and blizzards throwing themselves all over the States.
But, joy of joy, when I came outside at about 9am yesterday the temperature was already at almost 60F degrees. So I put on my new purple, fleecy house- jacket that “Santa Richard” brought me and enjoyed my first quiet time in the lanai for a month. The air was tepid, but warmed up by the minute and I was pulled in so many different directions all at once.
I wanted to just sit and savor the glory of the Lord, breathe in His precious air and all the various perfumes of the outside. I wanted to do my meditational readings and engage in my intimate time with God. I also wanted to write and get out the words that had been hiding in my heart and mind over the past few weeks. And I also wanted to let the world know why I had not written during this period – or at least give them my version, which may or may not be the “reason” but perhaps an “excuse”. Who knows what goes on at subliminal levels in my brain!
I did do my readings and spent some quiet time with God. I did enjoy just sitting there and breathing and watching the myriad tiny birds fluttering round the feeders and hopping through the grass below. I even saw a couple of butterflies and I surely heard at least two, although I think there were more, hawks screeching loudly as they swooped back and forth through the pine wood out back. A blue jay was also jump-dropping from branch to branch in one of the pine trees (I’m not sure how else to describe the strange way Blue Jays have of starting on an upper branch and then dropping-jumping-flying-flopping down from one level to another until they drop out of sight behind the fence line).
I did not get my lap-top out to the lanai however, because Richard and I had a planned date/appointment to go and have brunch together and then do some post-Christmas bargain shopping. Part of me was a little irritated because this was the first time I had felt driven to write in so long. But I enjoy my dates with Richard when we can manage them so the irritation was minimal and quickly disappeared as we enjoyed some time together, and we did find some good bargains. What was even better was that it wasn’t just “acquiring more stuff”. We found some things that we needed or had been looking for and we saved some big bucks.
So, why haven’t I been writing? It’s rather a mish-mash of things, so here goes. The day after Thanksgiving, while we were still enjoying our week in Orlando, Rich and I went bowling at the Boardwalk near Sanford. At some point I was getting ready to unleash a strike (I like to think it would have been a strike!!). I made my run up to the line, planted my left foot to bowl and as I did that something just “torqued” in my upper outer left thigh. I dropped the ball as I gasped in pain then, in a moment, it suddenly didn’t seem so bad. However, it was. A few steps later a flash pain ran up my thigh. And so it went on and off over the next day as we prepared to return home. Thank God for Tylenol Extra Strength!!
When we got home I was able to treat it with different things that I had on hand. I also had a massage booked with Michael and he worked his usual skillful magic and, fortunately, within eight to ten days it was healed. Unfortunately, about 6 days later I noticed my right knee was sore and within 24 hours I was limping quite badly. I did all the things I had done with my thigh two weeks earlier hoping for the same results. Alas, a week later the situation had not improved so I went to the doctor. Happily, after testing it in every direction, he informed me that “the knee was not compromised” and sprained right tendons were diagnosed and I was sent home to “rice” (rest, ice, compress, and elevate) and given an anti-inflammatory to take for 3 weeks.
Now we’re talking about the two weeks leading up to Christmas here. With all there was to prepare for (I had seven people coming on Christmas Day) I was supposed to “rest and elevate”? Well, the anti-inflammatory partly took care of that because it rendered me pretty useless within half an hour of taking the dose (thank God I was taking it in the evening), and although I was not left with “hangover” symptoms the following morning, after a few days I noticed that the overall effect was one of “sludge-in-my-veins”. Add to this the fact that our normally mild Florida temperatures were dipping dangerously close to freezing several nights in a row and not getting much higher in the day time, and I was ready for total hibernation!!
The whole pace of my life slowed to a snail’s pace. What does this have to do with not writing, you may ask? Well, what little useful time I had available (read – time that I was really awake and one hundred percent brain alive!) needed to be dedicated to the things that were necessary to be done to get through each day and handle the plans that were in place. The freezing cold saps me of all energy and desire to do just about anything other than curl up on the couch and stay warm, plus it tends to numb any inspiration and seems to send the Muse running to warmer climates. Every once in a while a small creative idea would do its utmost to bubble to the surface and I would even find myself thinking that my lap-top must be feeling totally abandoned. But the anti-inflammatory and the couch won that battle every time
My knee is still bothering me. In fact I went back to the doctor last Monday and I have an order to get a CAT scan this coming week and I’m also waiting for a call from the physiotherapist. Because I have a little arthritis in some of my fingers and the physical feeling in my knee joint is similar to that in my finger joints, I personally think arthritis is the culprit and not sprained tendons. But we’ll see.
In the meantime, Mother Nature has decided to be kind to me and has served up some warmer temperatures. Today is as warm as yesterday. It is 3pm and I’m sitting in my lanai dressed in jeans and a tank top and I’m aware that my whole inside – heart, body, soul, and mind – is revved up on a different level. I feel lighter and happier than I have in the last month. Muse has been tapping on my door since yesterday and today my schedule is such that I can let her out to play.
I feel like a Mamma Bear in the middle of the great hibernation. I have no desire to stir out of my warm cave. I have no desire to get up, go out, do anything at all. I just want to stay curled up where it’s nice and warm and be cozy.
Much of the country may be under snow right now. Thank God Florida isn’t. But that still doesn’t change the fact that it is freezing cold – by Floridian standards. We have had heavier frost the last two nights than we have had all winter. I almost can’t believe I’m referring to winter, freezing temperatures, and Florida all in the same paragraph. But for whatever reason, we are experiencing a true winter season in the sunny south this year.
I could make it all about me and say that perhaps I need yet another lesson in gratitude; gratitude that we don’t get this kind of weather every year. Or perhaps I needed to learn once again not to take things for granted. Humility would be attached to that one. But, because it’s NOT all about me, I guess we’re just having an abnormally cold winter.
The reason this is such a big deal for me is because it affects my whole temperament. I plain don’t like the cold. It makes me grumpy and keeps me locked inside. Not that I don’t go out; I get my errands done and meet all my commitments. There’s just no joy to it, and if I can stay home, I do.
It’s most definitely put a crimp in my outdoors style. Haven’t been able to get outside to do much gardening, and the bad weather has affected the garden big time this year. On those odd few days that it has been warm enough to get out there, I have hacked away a lot of frost-burned plants and trees. Damage control has been the main name of the game.
The other major area that has been impacted is my writing. I really don’t like to sit in front of the computer for any length of time indoors. Even if it is cold outside that somehow doesn’t make it enjoyable to be writing indoors. So I have done very little writing and that is an irritation in and of itself. And what has frustrated me even more is that some days the sun has been shining, the sky is blue, and it has all the makings of a “come hither” look outside, but the thermometer has hovered in the low fifties:-(.
But this morning, four of my readings really got into my heart. Two were on the topic of “now"/the present moment”, and two were about “commitment” – my commitment to life and God, and God’s commitment to me. One of the “now” readings was headed by a quotation from Buddha:
”There is only one time when it is essential to awaken. That time is now.”
Only Buddha could have said that! The short reflections following the quotation said: “Even with our eyes open, we sometimes go through our days as if we were sleepwalking. these are the only days we have; we need to be aware of them.” (From the Daily Book Of Positive Quotations by Linda Picone.)
Both the quotation and the reflection really tugged at my heart, and I realized that even though it is good to have “down days”, days when I am not busy doing, it is probably not good to have too many of them in row. And that is what I have been doing in my great hibernation. I have enjoyed some great books, I have caught up on some Tivo, but I have also been “sleepwalking” through a lot of my days.
I have done a little writing but it’s been my “other writing”, the stuff I hope to turn into a book. But I have been thinking that there is no reason that I shouldn’t share some of that here in this forum. Each short chapter is a self-contained story unto itself and can stand alone. So keep your eyes open for articles under a new topic: Oases. See you on the pages!!