The almost but not yet time.
Encased in tiny shells of varied colors, beneath mother’s feathery breast life’s heart is beating, her lungs preparing to breath.
Tucked under the loose bark of a tree life can feel the breeze warming and maybe today, maybe tomorrow, she’ll leave her winter retreat, settle into a circle of light and hold open her wings til they’re warm enough to fly.
In the pond, life rolls and shifts inside translucent bubbles that cluster in corners on a slick green surface. Life will shed its tail, find its voice and legs, and will croak, chirp, and jump until the sun’s touch cools again.
Three springs ago, inside of me, life began to struggle. Underneath layers of down blanket, thick robe, warm pajamas; below tender skin and aching bones life’s heartbeat was erratic. Breathing no longer felt involuntary but forced. Life was cold – – colder than it had ever been; it seemed to want to snap my toes and fingers like twigs or break my chattering teeth. On the outside, life’s joints were swollen and painful; its gait stiff.
In my head, life wasn’t thinking straight. Confusion ruled the day and wild exhausting dreams, the night. Things that did not exist were seen clearly and things that did exist escaped notice or didn’t compute.
That first Lyme spring, I reclined on the back porch, stretched out on a cushioned lounge chair, my head on a pillow, cocooned in blankets, only my face visible and turned toward the early spring sun.
Outside life was beginning to hum.The buzz of insects flying overhead lulled me in and out of sleep. Internally, life was buried by an oppressive fatigue that covered me like a thick, slow sludge. From my vantage point beneath the eaves, I saw birds fly over the roof and out of sight and wanted to keep watching. I didn’t want to sleep. Life was waking up, and I wanted to join in, but it was beyond me to stay awake. I tried to hang on by listening hard to the Wrens’ trills, the Towhee’s insistent ‘drink-your-tea’, the buzz of the Red-Winged Blackbird. But I kept letting go; falling into those odd dreams under the frenetic control of the bacteria in my brain.
Now, it’s springtime again. The beginning of my fourth year sick, and I am almost, but not yet well. I am on my back porch wrapped in a down blanket; cold, but not freezing, fatigued but not asleep, knees sore, but I am mobile – – no cane, no crutches. I don’t have a pillow because I’m not lying down.
I am sitting up, resting but not idle because I have my camera and am snapping pictures of a Yellow-Rumped Warbler, trying to determine if he is a Myrtle or Audubon’s. He’s just passing through so I know how blessed I am that he stopped to rest in my tree and that I get to watch him fluff, and primp, and stuff himself with insects before he flies away.
Three springs ago, I was blessed to gain a brighter awareness of life; a more acute sense of how precious it is. I know I may be in a permanent springtime – – always almost and not yet. Nonetheless, life has won a few battles inside me and almost is better than never.
Lyme feels like this.
Almost . . . But Not Yet