Where Am I?

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Well, here I am.

I was away from home for two weeks. I attended a meeting in Lansing filled with interesting, knowledgeable and helpful people. I was able to connect and spend time with one daughter, two nieces, one grand niece, one brother and five sisters. Plus assorted and dear in-laws. I went to Nashville with my sisters! I came back from my vacation energized from new sights and sounds and adventures.

And then I ran out of steam.

I’ve been sick. We’re fairly protected, here on Beaver Island, from many of those things that make the rounds in the wintertime. When one manages to get away, it usually results in some sort of contagious nuisance grabbing hold. I came home with a bad head cold that – just when I’d decided a head cold was the worst ailment – moved down into my chest. I truly believe a broken leg would be easier to live with than a bad cold. But then, I’ve never had a broken leg.

My method of dealing with a cold is to mask all symptoms with as many over-the-counter medications I can manage: non-drowsy tablets to get me through the day, and the strongest drowse-inducing liquids for nighttime. So, I’ve been pretty drugged-up.

I came home to still Winter. Normally, the end of February is a good time to get away. Usually, by the first of March, signs of Spring are starting to show even when we’re still in Winter’s grip. The days are longer, the sun is brighter…there is hope. This year, I believe Beaver Island recorded a temperature – or at least a wind chill – of something like 25 below zero on the first of March. And, it wasn’t just a fluke. That was just an average day in the mass of cold days we’ve had this month…finishing off a winter that came early and hit us hard. In fact, today – March 19th, the eve of the first day of Spring – we are getting more snow! I am winter-weary.

I came home broke, and behind in everything. None of my jobs offer “vacation days.” We have a quaint old arrangement that an hour of work results in an hour’s pay. If it doesn’t interfere with business – or the plans of others – it is possible to get time away…but it will not be compensated. This vacation has been on my calendar for months. The fact that this hard winter resulted in less business (so fewer hours of work), higher utility bills and a whole new idea of the cost of snow-plowing would not cause me to cancel this trip. I’d figure it out. I had a few obligations for articles coming up in the first couple weeks of March. I work well under pressure, I assured myself. I’d figure that out, too. So, I’ve been busy…working, writing, turning in hours and paperwork, paying bills and filing taxes (while drugged up on over-the-counter cold medicine).

After two weeks out in the hustle and bustle of the mainland, a full week in the big city of Nashville and seven (twenty-four hour) days with my sisters, it might seem logical that I – the loner in the family – would be happy to get back to my little house on the Fox Lake Road on my little island away from the fray. The opposite is true! I have been so lonesome for my family, I wake up every day missing them! I wander this sad house alone every evening. I almost never suffer from loneliness, but now it has me in its grip.

I woke up this morning with the remnants of a dream still on my mind. It was filled with family, living and dead (though all very lively in my dream!), and busy with buying and selling houses and moving furniture. It was noisy with planning, friendly discussion and debate. As I awoke, I struggled to keep my Dad’s voice in my head. His words: “It’s good, then, you’ll be down here when it’s time to put in the garden.”  Though tears were drying on my cheeks as I got out of bed, it was comforting to note that Dad – from his high perch – knows that Spring is coming.

And I’m here…waiting for it.

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20 responses »

  1. This one breaks my heart, Cindy. It’s beautifully written, as always. I hope your cold leaves you and that spring finds you soon! (And I agree — when you have a bad cold, it doesn’t seem like anything could possibly feel worse, and you can barely remember what it’s like not to have one, but you swear if you ever feel “normal” again, you’ll get down on your knees and give thanks every sigle day!)

  2. Oh i do hate those “travel” colds. I always come back with something. So annoying!
    I’ve been totally shocked by the length of this winter seaaon, too. It does seem endless and you’re right to be sick of it (no pun intended)
    I predict by this time next week you’ll be back in your groove and less aware of the empty house. When my boys leave after vacations here, it usually takes a week to ten days to get over their absence in my space. We always miss the people we love, no getting around that problem in these times of upward mobility and families moving here there and everywhere chasing a living.
    Hang in, my friend–Spring will show up..it just may be wicked short and then BANG! SUMMER!

    • Yes, I’m feeling better…it’s just the transitioning, you’re right. And – after losing a couple feet of our snow cover – I am beginning to believe Spring is coming! Thanks for reading, and for your kind comments!

  3. Amiga – it’s not fun when we are not well, especially when the climate is not smiling with strong rays of warm sunshine. i hope that you find your way back to strong health soon.

    sometimes we bask in the collective attention of our loved ones, but we are happy to return to our quiet routines.. and then, those ultra-quiet moments are sometimes way too silent. i find that piano music helps me through those times, and if that doesn’t work, i turn up the volume of rock and roll favorites! and if that doesn’t work i go with friends to a chinese restaurant, and we take turns with triple doses of wasabi and laugh as we adjust to the ‘sha-zam’ brain explosion moments!

    a well-written book is always a good escape, as long as it’s fun – or scary – but never sad!
    i wish i could sweep down and retrieve you via magic carpet!
    z

    • Lisa, thank you for your kind words and good advice! I think I’m gonna make it! Just a matter of getting re-adjusted, I think. I’m feeling better, the days are longer…and so many good friends reached out to me that I feel doubly blessed…thank you for being one of them!

      • i admire and salute you for being strong enough to wave a little flag and saying, ‘i’m having a low moment…’ sometimes that helps us to be honest w/ourselves.. otherwise we often sink lower without even knowing it. friends help us realize that we have lots to be thankful for – i and that we’re not as alone as we think.

        try the wasabi trick w/friends – it’s quite fun, and the mix of that and laughter really does help raise those feel-good endorphins! z

  4. love, love, love to you Cindy–please know that those who love you are sending hugs and warm thoughts to encompass and encourage you

    • Judi, what a dear friend you are, and I’m so sorry I worried you with my self-indulgent whining. The weather is improving, and so is my cold. I think lonesomeness is a side-effect of having a good time with family. I’m feeling better. Thank you for your concern!

  5. It’s still winter here in NW CT, too. The little signs of spring are coming but so slowly. We get the small signs and feel hopeful and then, for 4 or 5 days it’s back to winter again. I’m longing for sunshine and warmth. My hope is kept alive by Snowdrops this year. They started to blossom on a warm-ish day about a month ago and then we had a few heavy snow storms. I never thought they’d survive but I saw them a few days ago and more are blossoming as well as the earlier ones. Hang in.

    • I saw one of the road crew actually making repairs to our one paved road, now that the many layers of snow and ice have finally melted from it. My heart jumped with the feeling of Spring! It has been a long winter…but I think we’re going to make it! Thank you for reading, and for your kind comments!

  6. I’m so glad you had a good time away, but I’m sorry to hear you’re sick and behind and didn’t get paid during the time off. That sucks. Plus, winter’s still here and the bills have been higher due to the cold winter. AND–I must agree–a cold is the WORST! I hate them! Be well, my friend.

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

    • Yup, that’s the gist of it…all the reasons for my whining! It felt good to get it off my chest, but I’m embarrassed that I worried so many people with my complaining. I’m better, and will be fine. Thanks, Kathy!

  7. You broke my heart with the dream you had and the lingering sound of your dad’s voice. Seriously, broke my heart. Missing him, but having him give you the promise of spring is so bittersweet. Get well, and cherish lovely memories.

    • It’s always a bittersweet pleasure when loved ones visit in my dreams…and such a comfort, sometimes, that I like to believe it’s more than just a dream. I’m feeling better all ’round. Thank you, Sara, for reading, and for your kind comments!

  8. Cindy, to me the worst is being alone when you’re feeling sick. It is a lonely place to find oneself and I felt it in your writing so well placed it nearly made me cry. I too can be a bit of a loner, although gregarious by nature. Sometimes I truly need to be connected to those around me and other times prefer my own company, or sharing time with the cat. We’re odd and complicated beings we humans. Hope spring arrives soon for you.

    • Thank you, Susan! I’m feeling better physically, and with that many of the other “big problems” have fallen away, too. I’m feeling my old self again. Thank you for reading,and for your kind comments!

  9. Hi Cindy, I’m glad you returned home safelyfrom Nashville even though with a bad cold. I don’t get colds much, but I had a bad one in February on a cruise ship. It seems to be something going around.

    Where is your island? Do you need to take a ferry or is there a bridge connecting it to the mainland? I have been to Mackinaww Island which I found very interesting. I was in Detroit last month between snow storms. At least they know how to handle snow and ice compared to here in Tennessee.

    Sorry your sister is going through radiation and chemotherapy. In the case of my wife, it didn’t work; but, it did work with my father. You just never know. I wish her the best. Bill

    • Thank you, Bill, for your kind words.
      Beaver Island is in Lake Michigan, 10 miles “as the crow flies” from the nearest mainland, and a 32 mile ferry ride (or airplane ride, this time of year). Our island is about 4 times the size of Mackinaw, and we do have automobiles here.
      Cancer is a terrible thing…hard on everyone, it seems. The treatments are hard, too, and not always successful. I’m so sorry for your loss.
      Thank you for reading, and for your comments!

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