Early morning. The ocean looks like a frozen lake, the air so cold that vapor rises from the sea: sea smoke. I am sitting in my window seat, propped on pillows. I’ve been sitting here for days, now, ordered to rest by Dr. K. Rest is not my usual way of being in the world. I’m accustomed to filling the rectangular spaces in my calendar with times and necessary places to be, yoga class, coffee with friends, a movie with Dick, my husband, a hair appointment, another for a bone density test, and those times I don’t mark with ink, I mark invisibly in my mind, write from nine to one, lunch, walk the dogs for an hour, maybe longer, water and fertilize orchids, check the calendar for the weekend, a movie at the library, family coming.
Yet, as I sit in my window seat, all of that has peeled away. I’ve been sick for more than a month, and now blood work has confirmed a clinical diagnosis: Mycoplasma, Atypical pneumonia, Walking pneumonia. That is what has brought me here and given me a gift of time unbounded by the face of clock, analog or digital, marking seconds, minutes, hours, then discarding them like balled up tissues. Here in my window seat, time drifts, past into present, present to past. I’ve read Great House by Nicole Krauss, Nemesis by Philip Roth, finished the second half of A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz, a book I’d started more than a year ago. I’ve day dreamed of family and of friends. I’ve read the daily paper from end to end, all of Harper’s.
This morning, I watched as the sea smoke began to dissipate, drawn skyward by the sun, a white hot orb beating down, turning the snow on the ledge outside my window to crystal. Now, clouds hover at the horizon as higher clouds stretch in the wind. Under them the tide, nearly silent this morning, moves toward land. I wonder at the ocean’s quiet, wonder at the gulls I don’t sea. Perhaps, they’re waiting for slack tide, And so a routine has evolved. Mornings, I am in my window seat, reading, writing, dozing or simply closing my eyes and banishing thought—in the words of Dr. K. “like savasana. That’s what the body needs to heal.” Along, I suppose, with the second round of an anti-biotic he prescribed.
The other day, my friends, Susan and Victoria, arrived bearing a huge pot of chicken soup, that healing elixir, that Gene, Susan’s husband had made. There was also an assortment of veggie chips for munching. I love munching. In the living room, we spoke briefly, but long enough for me to explain my routine, after savasana, that pose of total relaxation, making it one of the most challenging of the asanas, or poses, lunch, then upstairs for a nap. “Ah,” Victoria said, “the discipline of rest.”
Or, I thought, later, of letting go.