Valentine’s Day on Shadow Mountain

Imbolc                                                                      Valentine Moon

Well, no matter what else happens I can say I made it to 72. Valentine’s Day on Shadow Mountain. Black Mountain obscured by low lying clouds, but still visible. A thin dusting of snow on the solar panels and the driveway. 32 degrees.

The pneumonia continues. Rattling in the chest, coughing, back to night sweats, shortness of breath, some fever. Not how I imagined my birthday, but there you are. I go to see Tabitha, Dr. Gidday’s p.a. today. Hopefully I’ll learn some more. Kate’s ct is today, too. I scheduled my appointment close to hers so I can take her to the imaging center at Porter Adventist, then scoot over to Dr. Gidday’s office for my 11:30.

I’ve been sick 15 days now. Figured out the last time I was this sick was not Austria, but when we lived on Edgcumbe Drive in St. Paul. Never diagnosed. Kate thought it might have been myocarditis. That was 29 years ago. It’ll be ok with me if it’s another 29 between bouts like this.

I’m up in the loft early. Feels nostalgic after 15 days of mostly miss on the mornings. I’m ready to get back to my old life, resume painting, teaching, writing. Not yet. There’s this big bump in the road.

A while back I read an interesting article about snow. A heavy snow eliminates boundaries, covers fences and streets, rocks, even mountains. The world becomes white, curvilinear, jagged edges smoothed. The affective mood of the landscape undergoes a transformation, becomes more connected.

Illness has a similar totalizing affect. The landscape recedes. Old linkages like grocery stores, schools, churches, synagogues fall away. The house, or even a room, becomes a world. In this world there is struggle, the body trying to hang on to life, an invader not caring about that life, but wanting the resources the life has to offer. It’s a raw, pitched battle, tough to watch, tough to experience. Not all illnesses are this extreme of course but pneumonia at 72 is a life or death matter. Either the pneumonia is defeated or the body dies. High stakes.

Like a heavy snow the world around this struggle transforms, becomes homogeneous. Can it help? It exists. No help? It disappears.

Writing from inside that shrunken world.

 

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