Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Wintering

 I finished with The God of Small Things. It was beautifully heartbreaking, a reminder that we all contribute to the lives around us, and that it is not always a good thing. 

I'm now reading Wintering. Such an interesting little book. You glide from abscission to hazel dormice to first sleeps and second sleeps. Katherine May makes the point that we all have winters in our lives and there is a real grace to knowing that they are simply a season. She suggested that we simply learn to endure that season knowing full well that after winter comes spring, and with spring, new growth.

 I understood what she was saying right away. All my life, I have worked, and I have worked very hard. I can't be any other way. But I remember cancer, and how very suddenly, everything stopped. It had to. I had to avoid crowds. I was homebound. For the first time in years, my house was tidy and it stayed that way.  I was able to sit down and watch a movie or read a book without feeling guilty. I took a nap in the afternoon and there was no shame. 

That was nice. 

(Don't get me wrong, cancer sucked but there was a nice lesson that came out of it.)

That lesson quickly fell to the wayside when cancer was done. I went back to work, Life once again was arranged around work. Afternoon naps were out of the question: like as not I was tramping through a swamp or the woods. It was a physically demanding job. I was also out of shape. I was a one woman show and it was my responsibility. Coming home from it, I was struggling to accomplish all the other things that I had to do. Once again, I found myself felling guilty if I sat down with a book. Or watch television. 

Now, we've got a pandemic. This 'winter' feels something like that 'winter' 12 years ago. I mean, I'm not wondering whether I'm going to die, but there are similarities. My job ended in March. I'm pretty much living my life inside my four walls. I once again have a tidy house. I am reading books. Watching a netflix movie most Saturday nights. We don't go out much. The great ham hunt on Christmas eve was the longest amount of time we've spent in public in months, really. 

Sunday, I was on the computer, and Tim became a little grumpy. He thinks that I spend too much time on the internet in the morning. I like my morning cup of coffee. It started out that I spend an hour roaming around on line, reading the news. Now that I'm homeschooling, I don't have time for that morning routine. The boys both have to be on line at 7:55, which means that I have to get up, get showered, and be ready to go. So on the weekends, I get up, wander to the kitchen, make my coffee and come back to drink it at the computer. I don't limit myself to an hour either. 

So Tim began to do his angry sniff, like he does. 

I said, "You know, I'm not going to feel badly about this. You're laid off. You don't feel a bit guilty about sitting down and watching football for an afternoon. Or Monday night. Or Thursday night (the Steelers are (were?) having a stellar year and will surely make the playoffs, so he's been keen on all the games, to scope out the competition). 

He looked at me uncomfortably. 

"I'm not saying you can't. In fact I'm not saying anything at all. I just think I deserve the same respect. I don't have time for anything during the week, and I think I'm due a little time to myself without feeling ashamed."

He's a good man who rarely responds emotionally. He thought this over and agreed.

It is winter, a season, and this pandemic makes it different from the days of cancer. It is not just my winter. It is not just my season. We're all struggling. 

In the end, seasons change. Spring will come. 

Remember that. 

PS: Tell the others. 

6 comments:

  1. The book Wintering is one of my 12 days of Christmas treats - I shall look forward to reading it

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  2. You are a very good writer Debby. Sounds like you have been through some bad winters and you have the makings of a very good book there.

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  3. Sue and I are both known to spend much computer time in our separate spaces in the mornings. So nobody sniffs. :)

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  4. This too shall pass, as is often said. Given your past experiences, it sounds like you have a solid sense of perspective on this crazy time. I think spending so much quarantine time with our families puts us all under a bit of extra strain -- no matter how much we love them!

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  5. Going through cancer would certainly give a person perspective. I have felt mired in winter since March and hoping that spring brings both figurative and physical blossoming. I've been spending too much time on the computer but the only one who complains is the cat, who can't get on my lap with the laptop in the way. It's good to find coping strategies and ways to disengage.

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  6. Terrific observation (and conversation)... as you know, I too got reminded rather severely to stop and just breathe. I can tend to overbook myself. I have tried hard not to lately, but when everyone is used to you over-committing, it takes some adjustments when you change gears! The COVID experience, for us in the Aussie bush, has been quite different to yours. Most of the good without the bad really... time to stop with family close by, time to just BE and not travel constantly to commitments. I secretly loved that part. Time is far too short for guilt over little pleasures though. And I reckon staying in touch with the world is definitely one of those. xx Wishing you and your readers a very HEALTH and happy 2021. BB

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