What Heals You

Nature heals

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?

Elm seedsA 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. Canada Geese

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.

Snow Goose

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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5 Replies to “What Heals You”

  1. Hey Sheila! So glad to hear you have recovered. I am over 60 and a diabetic and terrified of getting this disease. I stay away from everyone. I get my groceries delivered. I don’t go into stores unless I absolutely have to. We have a lot of construction going on around our house and the contractors nor their laborers will wear masks. I stay in the house and communicate by phone. I don’t talk to anyone face to face unless I absolutely have to. My husband works from home. He has been in the office twice since March. Fortunately, we get along really well but there have been more than a few times that it has been a challenge to be around just him. Being an artist, I just go down to my studio where I am used to being isolated. Thank God for Zoom! We have 2 dogs that are our babies. Our youngest is from Missouri and she is going through her second round of treatments for heartworm. Hopefully, this time it will work. She is on steroids and thinks she can do anything. She can’t. It’s a challenge. We love her and she’s worth the effort.

    I love reading your posts. Not only do you dazzle us with your photography but your prose is quite engaging. I’m removed from my situation in life even if it is for a few minutes. Please continue to post on your blog.

  2. Outside in nature is definitely medicinal for you and I’m so very glad it did its healing. We are lucky that you continue to sooth us with your quiet time of observing so well.

  3. Hi Sheila. So sorry to hear of your bout with COVID and very very happy to hear you have had a full recovery. I love your blog. I learn so much about nature from it…plus your wonderful photographs. Thanks for doing the blog.

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