Illness and Recovery

Winter                                            Moon of the Winter Solstice

The ancientrail of illness and recovery continues here on Shadow Mountain. Yesterday it brought an unusual moment, a highly emotional tidal wave crashing through my early Christmas morning consciousness.

The immediate trigger was, I think, the pile of Hanukkah presents on the coffee table beside me. The Christmas spirit that still flows around this secular, pagan heart saw them. And rejected the moment. What followed was a period of dislocation, the closest analogy I can give is culture shock.

What was I doing in this house with this holiday underway? Mom, Dad, Mary and Mark rose up. I missed them all, a lot. Further the friends from Minnesota. Why was I here in cold Colorado, in the mountains, when my family and friends were dead or far away?

The logic of these feelings did not account for Kate, who worked the New York Times crossword across the room. Nor did it account for Jon, Ruth and Gabe. Nor the dogs. These were dramatic, histrionic feelings, slouching toward despair and isolation and loneliness. I cried for the distance I felt from the house, from my life here.

In talking with Kate about this later in the day she offered an interesting perspective. After my Minnesota trip in September, I began to forego my workouts which had become too painful. The decision to replace the knee had been made not long  before that trip. Oddly, at some point the act of sitting became painful which made using the computer in the loft all but impossible.

Then on December 1st I had knee surgery. Since then, 3 weeks plus, I’ve lived with pain and meds, often so disoriented that I lost track of sentences midway.

Kate thinks I may have lost my self. The self that cut down the trees, cut up the slash. The self that writes. The self that hikes. The self that engages easily with the world. That self was lost in the last few months, diminished, then vanished. The journey from the trauma of surgery to healing and beyond has displaced at least my sense of self.

All this came to a confluence yesterday. Still not sure what to make of it though the crying felt cleansing. I’ve not had the same feelings since then.