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