This morning dawned gray and wet, heavy rain falling at a slant and slashing at north facing windows in the stiff breeze. It’s warm though, about 52F, and the snow from last weekend’s blizzard has mostly melted. Later the rain is forecast to change to freezing rain and then sleet as the temperature drops rapidly below freezing. What a challenge that will be!
I slept in til 6 this morning! I’ve been waking at 4 too often of late. Of course that is not all bad as on clear days I’ve been witness to the morning planets low on the eastern horizon, the early crescent moon, and multiple sunrises, all of which I miss now if I sleep until much past 6. The days have lengthened considerably and by the time we are up and about most days there is a lovely twilight.
I am happy to report that Jennie is feeling much better and most days I am as well. Yesterday was a day of relapse, but this morning I feel almost normal. Today is day ten for Jennie. I’m a day or two behind her and we are still being careful to avoid contact with others. By Sunday we should both be able to go out masked so may we’ll make a bakery run. Sunday is forecast to be quite cold so most likely we will take our goodies to a park and enjoy them as we watch the water and wildlife from the car.
One of the challenges of post-polio is that it usually takes me three times as long to recover from bodily insults as other people require. This means I will probably be tired and achy for the next few weeks, a conditioned amplified by changes to humidity, temperature, or barometric pressure. I’ve been saying this often recently but it is important: “Please do whatever you are able to avoid long term post-viral syndromes!”
We’ve driven by the marsh a couple of times since beginning quarantine. On the open water there have been a goodly number of ducks of various sorts. The rising and falling tides serve to break up the ice so that here, in relatively mild southern New England, the marsh seldom freezes solid, giving water fowl open, yet sheltered, water in which to feed and be relatively safe from predators.
Occasionally we hear shotgun fore from the bay, as duck hunters use the early morning dusk to take prey. I am reminded that in Ulysses James Joyce has Bloom imagining that after death the eyes of cattle he has eaten pursue him for eternity. This speaks eloquently to the human dilemma: we are very effective predators and we must eat; no matter how hard we may try to avoid causing suffering to other beings, we must cause suffering. As Ipu used to say, even that carrot is conscious and wants to live.
So how are we to navigate this? The traditional way is to acknowledge that all creatures want to live and that our own need for subsistence requires us to take life. When we do this, we can feel empathy for those we must harm and try to limit our harm to that which is absolutely necessary. Yes, this is difficult and can feel quite raw, but the alternative is a kind of sociopathy in which empathy is absent as is accountability. To know that we must take life in order to live, yet to do so with care, gratitude, and empathy is to acknowledge our own mortality, and thus our kinship with all life. When we do this the door to connection swings open and we may find ourselves in the midst of, and participating actively in, Great Mystery that is life.