Fragile

031815How thin the line, sometimes, between happy and sad, healthy and ill, charging forth and staying in retreat. I was bullish on 2015. Last year was one of the best of my life, rich in writing, travel, meaningful work, family and relationship. I entered this year the way I’d been entering my boardwalk walks after the Camino — on strong legs, ready to climb. But ten days after being felled by the flu, it wasn’t just my health that was flagging. My spirit flagged too. All those imagined walks and poetry submissions and major milestones at the office slipped into the distance. What was I doing with my life? How had I gotten here? All of it seemed like too much. And so a day in bed–cats sitting in the open windows–resting and recovering my strength. It’s a phase, the lowness, just as the highness is a phase too. But I am back to what Sting told us in the 1980s, How fragile we are. How fragile we are.

March 18, 2015

Reentering the World

031515By way of wine. By way of a mean massage that untangles my tangled shoulder. By way of mussels and fries at the end of the bar, where the stools don’t quite tuck under the tabletop. By way of the satisfying clink of glasses. By way of an impossibly slow crawl through downtown traffic as the throngs arrive carrying sponsored tote bags. By way of Crianza, tasting just like Spain. By way of soft lighting, comforting hum.

March 13, 2015

Flu: Day 3.5 (Or, Some Thoughts On Early Renée Zellweger)

031115In Jerry Maguire, she is so fresh-faced and quivery there’s nothing to do but fall in love with her. Who is that actress? I remember wondering when I first saw the movie. She came out of nowhere (like the flu, but not like the flu) and soon she was everywhere. And, confessions, I love that movie, all its questions about love and money and kwan, all its tenderness and rambunctiousness and underlying messages about how hard it is to live with heart and integrity. Go, Cameron Crowe. Go, Renée Zellweger. Bust my heart again, almost twenty years later, on a couch in a city a few thousand miles away (a couch I have spent too much time on this week). As for Bridget Jones (yes, as for Bridget Jones) from the distance of years and fever, I say quit it with the miniskirt. And anyone can see that Colin Firth is not just the nicer guy. He’s going to look way better in middle age.

March 11, 2015

Flu

030915My grandfather was a pharmacist, and he brought home thermometers that my mother and aunt would then break to play with the mercury. It rolled and gathered and separated and shined. Even when I was a kid, my mother mused on the magic of liquid metal. We know today that mercury isn’t safe, and most of our thermometers are plastic and make beeping noises when we use them. But when I’m really sick,  I still turn to the old fashioned ones. This one may have come from my grandfather’s Connecticut pharmacy. Today it confirmed that my fever was rising — 99.5 to 100.9 to 101.6, before I took some ibuprofen. The idea of play was far in the distance as I ached and slumped and shivered and sweat. Inert, I thought, as I looked at my slippers and thought my feet too far away to bother taking them off. I am inert. I kept the thermometer in easy reach all day.

March 9, 2015