Though breathing is still not as easy as it was two weeks ago it is most definitely on the improve.
I think being housebound is wonderful for a convalescent's physical recovery, but it can also lead you into an almost depressed mental state, and so it was for me. Thankfully I recognised what was happening and discussed it with my husband, so this morning we packed plenty of water and headed north in the Jeep for a country drive ending up at Abergowrie, north west of Ingham, where the air was cool, and cows munched contentedly in the lush green paddocks scattered between cane fields ripe for harvest.
It was refreshing to have the tropical winter air blowing through my hair as we drove along, capturing my mood of late and carrying it away, far from mind. As we passed through Ingham we stopped at Lou's Food Emporium for a package of Crostoli to nibble on and two cold bottles of mandarin cordial to quench our thirst. Very simple, quite delicious.
Home again early in the afternoon I was tired yet satisfied we'd made the effort to close the door behind us for a bit and be reminded that life is more than the world within our house. Too often during illness, or in seasons where we're housebound for any number of reasons, an introvert like myself can find herself sinking further and further into a reclusive state of being, and though I do prefer to spend most of my time at home anyhow, it's also crucial that I 'get out' and come up for air every so often, to gaze with wonder at the beauty God has surrounded us with in this tropical paradise.
My desk has been somewhat neglected of late and I was not at all inspired to sit there and begin catching up on things until I placed a small white milk jug of flowers on top of the printer and then all of a sudden it felt welcoming.
Truly, one small thing can change an outlook, lift a flagging spirit, paint a smile on weary lips.
Out on the back verandah my schlumbergera cactus has also had a change of outlook. After more than a year without blooms these pretty deep peachy pink blossoms have appeared...
Chatting with Blossom the other day I shared with her my lack of creativity right now, and the sense that someone had pulled the plug on that side of my mind and drained it all away.
She said, "Mum, go into your sewing room and cut into a favourite piece of fabric - then do whatever you like with it."
So yesterday I did just that, right before dawn when I had given up on sleep and the rain which had fallen softly on the roof all night closed the sky with clouds and ushered a chill throughout the house.
Padding into the sewing room with slippers, coffee and a thick cardie, I knew exactly what fabric to pull off the shelf.
I'm pretty sure they have sat in my stash, much admired, for about seven years. Two 1/4 yard cuts of pinkish red loveliness, waiting, always waiting.
Like all things in my mind at present, they needed a simple setting...
...and I'm very slowly enjoying moments of quiet sewing as I watch how they marry together in
applique and embroidery.
It's been a while since I worked with just one colour. How calming, easy, relaxing. Even beautiful.
No hours, days even, of double guessing back and forth as to whether a palette of assorted pastels will play nicely...just unwinding one more length of pinkish red thread at a time, unhurried, sure and certain.
How reflective of me right now.
Needing to be unhurried, needing to be sure and certain, needing simple times for as long as I can have them.
When I was at the doctor's surgery the other day an older gentleman sat near me in the waiting room. The large area wasn't crowded but there were perhaps twelve or fourteen patients, some with children, scattered in seats awaiting their name to be called. I'd been there about twenty minutes before the older man set himself down just a chair's space from mine and I may not have given him a thought except for what he did next.
In a room where everyone, without exception, even mothers and fathers with babies and toddlers, were looking intently at their mobile phones, fingers scrolling through websites, emails and texts, playing games or making calls...the gentleman nearby pulled out the local newspaper from under his arm, removed a pen from his pocket, and turned the pages until he found what he was looking for. The crossword puzzle.
A contented smile spread across his face as he flattened the newspaper open before refolding it into a letter size so the crossword was the only section showing, and then with pen in hand he began.
I could not help myself. So engaged was he in answering the clues and filling empty spaces with answers that I simply had to keep looking over. In fact, at one point when his face frowned with deep concentration over what was clearly a not so easy clue I wanted to lean over and ask if he'd like some help! I actually found myself both in awe and envious of his waiting room pastime. His delight when an answer came was obvious, but mostly I was struck by how at peace he was unencumbered by technology, oblivious to the dozen or more phone fixated patients surrounding him.
I was sick yes, agitated at having to wait so long, fearful of a positive pneumonia diagnosis...yet much of that drifted away once my crossword loving fellow patient sat nearby.
When I came home the picture of him sitting at peace with the folded newspaper did not leave me, and though for many days afterwards I just felt ghastly ill and barely found a glimmer of delight in anything, my mind would keep wandering back to him. So struck was I by the simplicity of that meeting and I wondered if he would ever know how God had used him to remind me that I could slow down too.
You see, when I was young my grandfather would do the crossword each day in the newspaper as well. Breakfast over with, a fresh cup of tea made, pen uncapped and waiting in his hand, Pop's mind was ready to be challenged. There was no mindless scrolling of social media. There was intention to sharpen the mind, to settle for a while in your own company and feel mentally satisfied when the brain workout was done. Simple satisfaction.
I like crosswords, and I'd forgotten that. I like jigsaw puzzles too.
I do not like the ones that come as an App though. In fact, I just deleted the games off my iPhone because there's now a yearning to do things the old way, the tactile way, the no-technology way.
I want to be reminded by experience that there's a gentler life to be regained, though my steps will be small and my way yet to be defined, and choosing to seek those older paths may in fact be the way of the future, my future at any rate.
Indeed, this season of enforced rest is not being wasted. God is using it to wake me up and there are many more things ruminating within my mind at present but I daresay this is enough pouring out of thought for one day, yes?
If you have something to share on this train of thought please write about it in the comments. Blogger still are not forwarding comments to me via email but I will do my best to respond here. xx
God bless you ever so much,