I’ve been cooped up for too long, whiling away the days on social media, too tired to focus on even sedentary tasks. For the last week, I’m mentally brighter consistently but still short of breath. Over the last few weeks sick with COVID, I’ve had some really good days – almost normal days – only to be subsequently socked with my worst day yet. The rollercoaster of it is maddening. Four days go, I said to myself, “F* it if this is how I’m gonna be, then let’s get on with life.” I bundled up and went out for a short walk with my dog. The fresh air did me good. The next day, I was breathing normally for parts of the day, and for the first time in weeks, I felt like I would be 100% again, like it had all been unreal.
Yesterday, I ventured out to run an errand and begin to rejoin the world. I became light-headed in the store. I came home and cried, disheartened that I can’t just power through. The rest of the day was tough, and I had a bit of a pity party (we’ll all entitled to that from time to time, right?).
Today, although I can’t take a deep, full breath, I went out again for another short walk. This time I headed into the woods. It’s the most normal I’ve felt in weeks. I wasn’t thinking about my breathing or if I’d be able to function well enough to go back to work. I was only in the moment. I ambled. I investigated new beaver sign.
They are regular inhabitants of this pond but don’t tell the neighbors they’re back! People’s preconceived notions about what it’s like to live with beavers nearby – despite the reality of not even knowing they were here – will result in the beavers’ demise.
I collected some beaver art for my curio cabinet and tucked it into my coat pocket.
This time of year is prime for mushrooms, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Oftentimes the underside (the gills) are where the dramatic beauty lies. That’s true of a lot of things when you take the time to look deeper.
I lingered at a frozen puddle mid-trail. The swirls in the ice created as air was trapped under freezing water is captivating.
Fallen leaves peek out of the ice—the perfect clash of seasons.
The ground’s surface softly frozen preserves deer and coyote prints in the mud and crunches quietly under my footsteps.
A fallen tree had been the refuge of some small creature. I marvel at how dried leaves are draped across branches as if artfully placed with intention. Natures tree trimming?
A muskrat pushing through a thin set of ice near open water caught my ear. I watched him for a few seconds before he noticed my 85-pound dog and me standing just a couple of yards away. He froze. I guess he’s not used to anyone else being here. I grabbed a quick iPhone photo and left him to his task.
The thin sheet of ice across my pond barely supports the geese, and it sings as they waddle across it. These are migrating geese, not local geese. They don’t know me or the coexistence philosophy of the dog at my side, so they keep a wide distance. It’s nice to have geese back in the yard after the coyote incident last summer drove my regular geese away for the season.
I fill my feeders and return to the house. Tomorrow, I will take a short walk in the opposite direction to the creek, where I know the edges will have beautiful scrolls where the water will have frozen in layers at the edge of the slow current. Nature’s art. Who knows what else I will find.
Nature got me out of my head, helped me to feel “normal,” and restored my optimism. What heals you?
Addendum: In the time since I wrote this, I’ve made a full recovery.
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