Monday, February 18, 2013

Blustery Days

The Sunday after the blizzard was sunny.  The following Monday we had wet snow and rain.  Flurries came and went throughout the week.  More snow yesterday morning made a mess of the roads, and the biting wind continued through most of today.  I can't remember when we've had so many blustery days in such a short span of time.

I am trying to think of the wind as a cleansing force, blowing out the old to make room for the new.

Ten days ago I had a massage.  I still had my cold but the cough was easing a bit.  It occurred to me as I lay on the table that I hadn't felt the stress in my chest for a few days.  My massage therapist and I were chatting about movies and books.  Then I got quiet.  Late November was the last time I felt completely well.  I thought about what had been going on earlier last autumn.

The tears started to fall.

I quickly said that I was okay.  It was just that something came to mind for the first time, and it startled me.  I had been going, going, going my whole life.  My earliest memories are of always having something to do and someone to look out for.  For the first time in my life that is not true. 

It was as if I'd been going ninety miles an hour for more than fifty years and all of a sudden I threw the brakes on.  I had no one to take care of, no place I had to be, and nothing I had to do.

Ten days ago during a massage I described my life as blank, a clean slate.  Things have fallen away until there are big chunks of time where I just am.  There are days at a time when there are no expectations, nothing is needed of me.  If I have strong feelings about not wanting to do something, I don't do it.

I have never felt this way before.  There is a petulant toddler in me that throws tantrums and says "no."

Honestly, I think it's about time.  I think my body thinks so too and knew that it wouldn't happen until life came to a full stop.  So that's what happened.  My body needed a break and found the least harmful way to take one.  I'm grateful it didn't take a heart attack or broken bones to get my attention.

I.  Just.  Stopped.

Ten days ago on the massage table I put that together with how sad I have been feeling.  I haven't pushed the feelings away.  I have let the waves of sadness wash over me.  I haven't found something to keep myself busy.  I haven't gone shopping or joined a book club or made new friends.

I.  Just.  Stopped.

It sounds boring.  I haven't had much to share about what's been going on.  There are people I can always talk to and we've continued to find plenty to talk about.  I haven't felt the need to make small talk with people I don't know well, and I haven't made excuses for that.  I ran into someone from town in the grocery store and she said no one had seen me for awhile.  I told her that I've been in hibernation since last fall.  I enjoyed having my son home for awhile.  Then I needed time to come to terms with the knowledge that life is not going to turn out like I thought it would.  I needed time to mourn that.

Ten days ago I said out loud that my life is blank.  My massage therapist listened and worked to help my muscles release and relax.  My body was listening, too.  It was as if it breathed a sigh of relief that what I had buried was working its way to the surface, glad to hear me say the words, no energy spent worrying about how it might sound.  It is what it is.

At the end of the session my massage therapist gently offered that I might think of my life as open.  I think I might like to consider that.  I have another massage scheduled for this week.  Maybe something else will come to mind...   

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Snowing And Blowing

Thursday was sunny and beautiful.  I had a massage, with revelations that I will write about another time.  I had started bean soup in the crockpot, which was ready when I got home.  My daughter joined us for dinner.  She and I were going away for the weekend.

My daughter needs a certain number of Continuing Education Units to maintain her medical license.  A portion of the requirement may be fulfilled through online lectures and quizzes, and the balance needs to be acquired through in-person workshops, conferences, and conventions.  She signed up for a three-day conference in Portland [Maine] and invited me to join her for a weekend in the city.

I didn't think twice before I said yes.  I love Portland.  There is always something to do.

Early in the week we heard it was going to snow.  As the week wore on the predicted amounts increased and the word "blizzard" entered the conversation.

The good news is that we arrived at the hotel Thursday evening with no trouble at all.  Even though the snow started Friday morning, roads were still passable and a friend took me to lunch at a new-to-me Japanese restaurant.

The not so good news is that the snow and wind picked up Friday afternoon, the train station and airport closed, the hotel filled up with people who hadn't planned to stay all weekend, and not all speakers slated for the conference have been able to make it to Portland.

More good news is that my daughter will be able to cobble enough hours to make the weekend worthwhile, we are safely housed in a hotel that has a restaurant, and I have happily entertained myself with my laptop and cable TV.

We expected the wind to gust up to 55 miles an hour last night as the snow continued to fall.

We didn't expect to hear the fire alarm just after midnight.  My first reaction was that it must be a mistake.  I opened the door to smell burning rubber and to be told we needed to evacuate the 11th floor.  My daughter and I grabbed our phones and laptops, pulled our down jackets on over our pajamas, and made our way down the fire stairs.  We had to exit into the night but were allowed to enter the lobby to wait for the all-clear.  Three firetrucks quickly arrived.  Firefighters found the problem, an overheated motor from what I could gather, and gave us the okay to return to our rooms.

We were back in bed by 1:00.  Snow drifts were piling up in whiteout conditions while the wind howled.

This morning we hear that the storm system should pass through by late afternoon.  Thirty inches of snow has accumulated so far.  We have plans for brunch in the hotel, and my daughter has lectures to attend depending on which speakers are here.  We will venture out later today, when things calm down, to see what the storm has left behind.  We have evening reservations, and with luck the restaurant will be open.

I said to my daughter that the weekend isn't over and maybe there are more surprises in store.  I hope it's something good....