~ because not all who wander are lost ~

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Seasons and Sickness

We've all heard that there is a season for everything. I'm learning a new depth to that saying today.

I woke up this morning shivering with a headache. The weather outside was not much better: right now it's 11 degrees with a windchill well below zero. I didn't feel all that crummy, but a thermometer reading of 101.1 and a resting heart rate nearly double my average made me think twice and pick up a bowl of chicken soup instead of my running shoes.

Once I was nearly recovered from a bad cold, but I decided to go on a hike with some friends of mine who keep up a wicked pace. It was a fun hike, but I came home exhausted and relapsed even worse. I didn't want to repeat that lesson today, especially with an overnight trip to a yurt in the mountains planned for this Friday. So, I decided to listen to my body, be patient, and just take it easy.
It was hard because I wasn't feeling crummy enough to lie around doing nothing, but I wasn't feeling good enough to really do anything truly productive. I read a book, babysat, played with a cat, played the piano, ordered a sleeping bag, and dreamed of days when the weather and I will both be feeling better.

The sun was the most deceptive part of today. It looked cheerful enough, but a step outside ushered in a breathless reality. The light that appeared friendly and warm from inside seemed harsh and hollow as it cast itself down upon a scene of stark, brittle trees stripped by the bitter wind. I stepped back inside quickly and put on another layer of fleecy warmth.
I haven't yet forgotten the memory of rich golden summer sunlight. It helps in times like this.

But as I've said before, winter has its own beauty. You could look at it two ways: a time to retreat indoors from the restrictive misery and dream of warmer adventures, or a time to retreat indoors for preparation and rest. In the days of homesteads, winter blizzards could leave a family snowbound for weeks. They spent the days mending things, making things, reading and telling stories together. Just because the winter was a harsh and unproductive time on the farm didn't mean it wasn't necessary or even good in its own right.
Six days we labor, and we rest on the seventh. Rest is good for the body and rejuvenating for the soul, especially when you're sick or stressed or otherwise in need. We can't just go-go-go; we are humans, not machines.

This time in my life feels kind of like a restful time. I am basically worry-free: living with my parents again, doing household tasks and spending time with my family and friends here until my internship starts. Sometimes I feel unproductive and even lazy. For so long I've been looking toward the next big deadline and constantly working to earn scholarships, recognition, money, credits, good grades, etc, going from one thing to the next. It's nice now to not have any homework to do, any exams to stress me out or classes to attend. I think I will miss it eventually. Too much of anything, even rest, is a bad thing.

For now I'm trying out a different kind of productivity. Today was all about helping my body fight what's ailing it and keeping the little girls entertained so my mom can spend quality time at the office. As for me, I'm taking time to breathe, time to play with a baby, time to find out what I really want from life and to enjoy what's here,
in this season.

Even if it seems cold and miserable and boring, this rest will be gone before I know it, replaced by something new, the time quickening again and rushing onward.

Tomorrow I will feel better. Tonight, I'm going to bed early. Holly and I are having a camp out in the Great Room.