Working at Simplicity

Fran - Kootenay Lake Ferry - Witzel photo

I’m coming out of a dreadful few days of flu-like symptoms and a throat so sore I had to psych myself up to swallow. I’m still feeling as though I got hit by a bus with the body aches but I am up, dressed and back to writing today and that feels like a major accomplishment.

All that being said, days of being knocked flat tends to put me in a reflective state of mind. Have you ever noticed that when you are sick, the world becomes very small? The aches and pains and discomfort can consume one’s time and energy to the point that not much else matters. But there’s also a simplicity to it all. Every day pursuits must slip away as one focuses on the all-important task of getting better. Sipping a hot cup of tea becomes akin to winning a lottery. The taste of soothing, comfort foods or the cuddly quality of flannel sheets is enough to make one cry for gratitude.

And then the morning comes when you wake up and the world has rushed back in – you’ve started to get better and life once more expands to include current events, the pursuits of others and your own work. You didn’t see it coming. A part of you thought you’d be sick forever.

This morning I woke up and remembered the long list of tasks I set myself to complete upon returning from my time away. I realize I am woefully behind on most. The cabin is tidy enough, though (to my eye) it misses some of my own brand of tender loving care. The weather, after days of rain, has become our version of fall perfection – slipping down near zero at night only to give way to glorious sunshine, blue skies and warm afternoons – and I haven’t been outside in days. Letters that I want to write remain as only passing thoughts in my head.

For one quick moment, I craved the simplicity of the past days. Then I shook my head at such a crazy thought. I embrace getting better and am thankful that illness is, for me, a passing thing. But there is a lesson here. Life doesn’t always have to be as complicated as we make it. Maybe, just maybe, we can gain a degree of simplicity without having to be flat on our backs sick. It’s something I’m going to be working on.

Fall Colours in New Denver - Bruce Witzel photo

Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life – John Updike

34 comments on “Working at Simplicity

  1. evelynralph says:

    Sorry you had flu-ish. No jabs? I had mine but get chest infections or the odd mouth and throat infection. Have antibiotics though. Get better quickly.
    Evelyn

    • I’m usually so isolated from contact with people most of the time, I don’t do the flu shot thing. Of course, when I do get around my grandkids, I seem to catch everything that comes in the door. Then I hear people who have had the shot saying they got sick anyway and I wonder if there is any point. Whatever comes, comes or as my granddaughter in preschool has learned – you get what you get and don’t get upset 🙂 Thanks for the well wishes.

  2. Reblogged this on A Woman's Wisdom and commented:
    Reflective thoughts here from Francis…

  3. Your reflective thoughts on being sick and getting well are very descriptive. I feel the same way! My husband and dog have been sick the last couple of days. It is no fun!

    • I love your blog name – white feather floating – so wonderful in imagery both visual and sensory. Many times, if I could choose, I’d rather be the sick one than watching how others suffer. No fun on either end of the question. Thanks so much for stopping by and making a comment.

  4. Terry Tyler says:

    I like this post ~ it came in my email via A Woman’s Wisdom! I know just what you mean. I think the being ill thing reminds one of being a child and being looked after when ill; it’s a cosy, safe time, a bit escapist. I’ve always been a bit nostalgic about it once the time has passed, too.

    • Glad you came across this,Terry and liked what you read. I have shared that nostalgia thing, for sure. There is something about the insular time of kicking back and letting someone else care for us that does feel like moving out of the stream of everyday life. Everything seems so simple. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and be a presence on my blog.

  5. I would say you must be feeling like yourself again, Fran, this post is beautiful. Glad you’re feeling better.
    I must admit, I’m not a good patient. I can’t stand to be bedridden so I’ll usually fight it until I practically collapse. 🙂 I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that I was bedridden for over a month when a disc ruptured in my back many years ago. I watched the leaves change through my bedroom window.
    Love the Updike quote!

    • Hi Jill – thanks for the well wishes. I was able to log almost 4000 words yesterday on the work in progress, so I feel on the mend, for sure. The downside of being ill is most definitely that sense that life is passing by and one is not a part of the process – who could bear to be a mere spectator, through a window, to the changing of the leaves. No wonder the memory leaves you resistant to taking to your bed.

  6. Reblogged this on Saying What Matters and commented:
    The Saying What Matters lady has been very quiet of late and I know I promised some more on relationship – posts are in the works. For now – please accept this small offering from over on Disappearing in Plain Sight that speaks of simplicity and recovery from illness.

  7. Sorry to hear you’ve been sick, Francis. I feel the same way when I’m ill. I take comfort in having the luxury to recover in comfort and “simplicity”, but when reality hits, need to remind myself that being healthy enough to get back it is something to be thankful for!

    I agree. Keeping things simple on a daily basis is a good goal.

    • When I read your comment, Hazy, I’m struck by the thought that what is maybe needed is the ability to flow with whatever comes – take the simplicity when it arrives (in whatever clothing), embrace the business when the time comes – just accept it all. Ohhh – I feel so Zen all of a sudden. Crossing my fingers it lasts. Thanks for the well wishes.

  8. smilecalm says:

    may you feel held
    in a healing embrace 🙂

  9. jackiemallon says:

    I know what you mean though. The simplicity of being forced to sit alone with your thoughts. You can’t go out, talk, eat, you’re fed up of sleeping. It’s a form of serenity and madness all in one! I’m a few steps ahead of a cold right now, I can feel it-and I’m running from it! Feel better xo

    • Oh, Jackie – I love your way with words. Yes, indeed – it is serenity and madness all in one. Hopefully, the breeding ground of creativity. We’ll see. Wishing you the best of luck staying one step ahead of the cold.

  10. diannegray says:

    What you say is so (scarily) true, Francis. When we are sick our entire world shrinks. This is something we need to remember when those around us are sick – it’s not something we tend to be sensitive to. I’m so glad you’re getting better xxxx

  11. Yolanda M. says:

    Hope you are feeling much better Francis. I agree with you on how the simplest comforts mean so much when we are ill. Great post 🙂

    • Oh, isn’t it the truth? And when it’s all said and done – those are the things I remember about being sick. Those simple, comforting gestures and actions offered by others. Thanks for stopping by and wishing me well.

  12. I think our bodies are more reliable than our minds and if we don’t slow down and simplify, our bodies force it on us through illness. Ideally we find simplicity and health together. It is the perfect pairing. Best wishes!

    • Musing Simplicity – a wonderfully evocative blog name. Welcome. It is nice to meet in the blogosphere and thank you for taking the time to read and make a comment on my blog. I believe you are making a really important point here – illness has lessons to teach us about the way many of us tend to stretch ourselves too thin, going at paces that would scare some athletes. Okay, this is not me – busy nonstop out in the world. Far from it and yet, complicating life with monkey chatter of the mind can be just as frenetic and damaging – perhaps? I like the sound of simplicity and health. it does sound like a perfect pairing. I appreciate your best wishes.

  13. Gallivanta says:

    Glad you are on the mend. I absolutely dread being sick but there’s certainly nothing like it for making us realise what is truly important.

  14. Gwen Stephens says:

    Sorry to hear you’ve been under the weather, Fran. I loved your description of the cycle we follow when we fall ill. I could relate, and it absolutely encourages one to consider simplicity. Glad you’re feeling better.

    • Well on the road to recovery now, Gwen. Thanks. One of my works in progress is zipping along and the days of suffering in bed with limited scope are far away. And that’s how it goes, right? But I am keeping simplicity in mind – among a few other things – LOL.

  15. sjhigbee says:

    Hope you feel better soon, Fran. Loved the blog, though.

  16. Behind the Story says:

    I’m glad you’re feeling better. It sounds like you really got hit hard. When we’re sick, it’s a kind of time-out from all our responsibilities. A vacation–except we’re not feeling well enough to enjoy it.
    Best wishes. I hope you’ll be fully recovered soon.

    • Yes, indeed – a vacation of sorts that we can’t enjoy. Describes it pretty well. I’m just thankful it didn’t hit me when I actually was away. Imagine that – on vacation and ill. Too sad. Thanks for the well wishes.

  17. Roy McCarthy says:

    Glad you’re feeling better Fran. Yes interesting, being sick can be the equivalent of a re-boot if you let it. Allow everything to settle back to basics then build up again, renewed.

    In the context of teaching running to beginner adults I often suggest that, at half way during a run, they walk for half a minute, re-set everything and set off gradually again.

    • Nothing like a fresh start, for sure. I like the running example. It’s a good tool for relationship as well. Either Bruce or I will often say – okay, how about we have a reboot here. Better than ending up at system failure let’s throw this computer in the trash pile 🙂

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