Monthly Archives: January 2018

January 8 – Traffic Stop

by Linda Hoye

I’m sitting in traffic, stopped, as the city workers tend to yet another thing on the only street leading into our neighbourhood. The work has been going on since early summer. They’re painting crosswalks now; I think that means it’s almost finished.

A man in a vehicle two cars in front of me steps out of his car and tries to get a look at what is causing the delay up ahead. I glance in my rear view mirror; the line grows longer. I shift into park.

I see a young woman strolling along the sidewalk toward me with two young children, maybe two and three-years-old, in tow. She pauses every few steps to look behind her at the little one who is lagging behind and is, in fact, seeing something of great interest in the low cedar bushes that line the sidewalk.

She doesn’t attempt to hurry the little one along and I’m struck by her patience. I wish I wasn’t. I wish it was the norm for people to take meandering walks with children and allow them to explore the world they are growing up in. It often isn’t though.

The young woman glances unseeing at me for a moment then turns her attention back to the straggler who is now reaching into the cedars and plucking berries from the branches. The second child toddles back to join the berry-picker and, together, they pluck treasures and begin filling their pockets with them.

What fun. For the briefest of moments I’m transported back to my own childhood when we ran unsupervised through the neighbourhood using our imaginations to conjure all kinds of scenarios in which to fill endless days. Time shifts and I’m thinking of my own children and the games they made up that occupied them hour after hour with nothing more than a yard and sticks and branches and a faithful dog named Bobby.

Such richness there was, and is, in a world without electronics and constant stimulation. I applaud this young woman for her willingness to take the long and slow way and to allow these children the priceless gift of gathering cedar berries on an autumn afternoon.

Ahead, the flag person turns his sign from stop to slow and cars begin inching forward. I shift into drive and move past the berry-gathering activity toward my destination for the afternoon, taking with me a measure of simple peace and a belief that moments like this can change the world.

Linda Hoye is on the other side of a twenty-five-year corporate career; now a writer, photographer, gardener, and somewhat-fanatical grandma. She lives in Kamloops, British Columbia with her husband and their doted-upon Yorkshire Terrier. Find her online, where she posts daily, at http://www.lindahoye.com.

This post was first published on her at http://lindahoye.com/saturday-october-28-2017/.

 

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January 5 – Travelling As Is

by V. J. Knutson

5

“My husband wants to put wheels on the bedroom and drive me cross-country.”

Three years ago, the doctor warned us against travelling six hours by car, stating that my health was too fragile. Now, she pauses in her note taking and ruminates for a moment before declaring the idea: “creative”.

“Well, it’s certainly taking charge of your life, instead of giving into the disease,” my psychologist adds when I disclose the plan to her. “I admire your attitude.”

Originally, we planned to take two years: I’d focus on recovery; he’d concentrate on winding down the business, and we’d sell everything off in stages. A boom in real estate helped push our dream forward, and here we are, on the road in half the time.

Mornings are the worst. Sleep, when it does come, encases my body in lead, reluctantly giving up her grasp when consciousness calls. Since the mind stirs long before the limbs, I have learned to use this time to write. Writing is one of the luxuries illness has afforded me.

Inspiration is never far away when the view from my window is ever-changing. Today, I am greeted by a cloudless blue Texan sky, anchored by the beauty of palms waving gently in the breeze.

Later, we’ll drive to one of the World Birding Centers nearby, where I’ll search for the green jay, native to this area, hoping to snap a picture. Or, if strength fails me, I’ll prop myself up in bed and try to sketch the pintail duck I photographed on my last visit. He’s such an elegant creature, his head a black hood atop a snowy neck and breast, balanced serenely on one leg. I admire his ease and grace; maybe even envy him a little more–my gait is so lumbered and slow.  Self-pity is a flitting sentiment these days though, now that I have time to admire the delights of nature.

Life is simple now. We gave up most of our worldly goods–passed what we could to the children, sold the rest. We are nomads, escapees from the stress of debt, cold weather, and the mundane.

Our home, complete with a washer/dryer, dishwasher, and walk-in closet, offers all that we need. He has his desk; I have my king-sized bed.  Shoeboxes, we’ve discovered, can be efficient and comfortable. Our yard, however, is incomparable, priceless.

In a week or so, we’ll pack up and head further west.

Illness, we’ve discovered, does not take a vacation, but this alternative sure beats the years of isolation and immobility that preceded it.

Life is a grand as it can be.

V.J.Knutson is a former educator, avid blogger, and grandmother. She and her husband are currently travelling cross-country in a 40 foot motor home. Originally from Ontario, Canada, V.J. hopes this journey will provide healing for her ME/CFS, or at the very least, inspire further creativity. Find her online at https://onewomansquest.org/.