The change between Summer and Fall is always something I enjoy. I love taking walks in the breeze, feeling the dried brown leaves swirling at my feet, and the slight hint of colder weather to come. Except that this year I have not been able to do that, and to be honest it has been a bit frustrating.
Having caught pneumonia on my return from Iceland, I have gone from being able to walk distances over semi-rugged terrain to barely able to handle the 1500 steps around my small block here in the little town of Lindsay. My block is only six houses in size – three long, two wide – but it has been sufficient in distance to kick my ass every time I try to walk it. A walk that would take me less than five minutes of semi-brisk walking previously now takes me closer to fifteen minutes of slow-moving shuffling. On top of all of that, I have lost some muscle mass, along with close to twenty pounds of weight. I am in a far weaker state than I ever would have dreamed myself to be in. Adding to that is an immune system that is very much compromised, and I have to watch how often I am outside, as well as limit the amount of time I spend with the general public.
For most folks, an extended hiatus away from people would be a welcome respite. For me, it is a reminder of how far my body has betrayed me over the past two months. Added to all of this, I am also dealing with Acute Kidney Failure, which has my diabetes medications turned upside-down, as the doctors are wanting to put less pressure on my kidneys at this time. Just another remind that at fifty-three years of age, my bad health choices when I was younger are limiting the amount of life I have on the backside of the time I have in this incarnation.
Yes, I realize how negative all of that sounds. How angry some of that may come across. And in a manner of speaking I am slightly negative and angry about everything, particularly when I take the time to stop and think about this. In a span of nearly sixty days, I have gone from being a fairly active individual capable of dealing with life head-on to being someone that has to be watched over constantly with fear that something untoward may happen – such as a potential heart attack or even going to sleep at night and not waking the next morning, stuck in a coma induced by the issues with my kidneys. However, it is not truly the way I approach the world. In fact, I have learned a few coping mechanisms through all of this.
Sure, I cannot be outside for as long as I prefer. But I try and get outside as much as I can. Today is a particularly blustery day, weather-wise. I dress warmer than I need to. I already have my walking route planned out. I am more aware of my plodding speed these days then I was before, so I have a vague idea of how long I will be out. Typically its less than two hours. And most of it is less than a mile from the house. I take precautions as I need to. The idea with all the walking is to get exercise and blood-flow back into my legs, to be outside where I can feel the air on me rather than the circulated nonsense being pumped through the house by some external engine, and so I can hear the wind in the tree branches, as well as the birds that have stopped over in the park. Regaining my strength will take time, plus I need to get rid of the crud that has invaded my lungs. Once that has happened to a much greater degree, I can get back to putting myself on longer treks.
When the Weather Does Not Cooperate
I have a Peloton bike that was purchased two Winters ago. I get on it and pedal from time to time. Not to the bone-crunching sessions that are on the bike, but rather to the self-paced sessions that deliver a country-side on the screen, as you pedal your way through. I cannot spend nearly as much time on this machine as I can walking, but it is available for extra exercise when I need it during bad-weather days. I will also use days like this as rest and recuperation days as well. I have never been much of a bath person until I had a PICC line in my arm which prevented me from taking showers. However, a bath can be a relaxing thing, allowing for muscles to have a break. So depending on how I feel at that moment…
Still Keeping the Gods at the Forefront
Through all of this, even when I was in isolation in the hospital for eight days, I have tried to keep the Gods at the forefront of my day. I prayed to Crow, Coyote, and Brigid during my stay in the hospital, asking for assistance in getting my health better. Here at the house, I visit my stone circle twice per day – once in the morning to greet the Sun’s rising, and once in the late evening to thank Coyote, Crow, and Brigid for Their efforts to help make me as whole as possible again. Every day can be a struggle, and as I have said before – some days are good ones, some days are bad, and there are plenty of days in between. Getting healthy again will take time, patience, perseverance, and most of all tenacity. I may not be able to accomplish today what I did yesterday or the day before – but I will accomplish something.
My Paganism, my Druidry, my Polytheism…none of that takes a backseat or gets set to the side during all of this. In fact, all of that becomes the foundational anchor towards getting better. And once I do manage to get all the way back on to my own two feet, none of those will disappear from my Life. These are a part of who I am. These are the pillars where my Life draws its basis from. I might not be able to enjoy the change from Summer to Fall as I have before, but I can still experience it. Perhaps for not nearly as long as I would like to…and sometimes from behind a pane of glass rather than standing out within the elements…but I can still experience it. Plus, there’s always next year. And I will be there for next year.